The brilliant game glasses with embarrassment danger
From the blackness of space, enemy space fighters rush into view, a laser controlled by head movement throws bright flashes of light towards them. A glance to the side shows the own huge spaceship, and in the headphones the commander demands the defense of the opponents at any cost.
“Gunjack: EVE” is one of the most popular games for Samsung’s Gear VR virtual reality glasses. The game demonstrates the fascination of virtual reality technology: Although the game idea goes little beyond the classic “Space Invaders” from 1978, the implementation is so realistic that the player immediately forgets his environment.
The game design is coherent, the graphics are convincing, and the control by head movement uses all the strengths of the new virtual reality platform. “Gunjack: EVE” is so intuitive that every user immediately understands the principle – dexterity, on the other hand, is not necessary.
VR glasses offer new perspectives
The most popular games for Samsung’s VR glasses show that mobile gaming will be completely different in the future: So far, smartphone games have been successful, which optimally exploited the small screen with cute 2-D graphics-see “Angry Birds” or “Candy Crush”. Thanks to the new technology, 3-D worlds are accessible via the smartphone-and allow completely new perspectives.
In “Drift”, the player looks at his targets from the point of view of a bullet moving at a slow-motion pace. In “Lands End”, a strange pastel-colored world always puts new puzzles in the virtual path of the player. Such games would not normally work well on a mini-screen, but as a virtual world simulation.
On the way, the glasses prove their true strength: in the ICE to Berlin, an enthusiastic group of rural women develops an amazing volume, and directly behind the tester, a toddler screams from full throat. If you put on the Gear VR, the environment simply fades out-closed headphones provided.
The user suddenly finds himself in his very own world. At least as long as the battery of the Samsung S7 smartphone does not run out. In VR mode, the battery lasts for about two hours, depending on the application.
In addition, the user must endure the amused looks of the fellow travelers. Anyone who puts on the glasses in public can currently expect questions or malice. What the scoffers usually do not know: The user can activate the camera on the back and thus view a video image of the real world with celebrating spectators.
Netflix app enables cinema experience
In addition to games, media content can also be viewed in glasses: Various 360-degree videos from the Canadian Cirque du Soleil show breathtaking artistry, while the user sits virtually in the middle of the artists on stage. And if you want to escape the noisy ICE compartment in the direction of Rio de Janeiro, you can head to the most popular destinations with the glasses.
In addition, the video streaming service Netflix has programmed its own app for mobile virtual reality: Anyone who has previously watched films on the go on the relatively small tablet screen can now enter their own virtual cinema room with the Gear VR.
The resolution of the videos is lower than in the Netflix app for smartphones (iOS and Android)-but since no disturbing travel environment distracts from the film content, the lack of sharpness is no longer noticeable after a few seconds.
Virtual reality concept still with problems
The Gear VR makes strenuous train rides or flights a relaxing experience. Provided that the user has the weaknesses of the concept “smartphone as the interior of the VR glasses” under control: In VR operation, the charger and the nearest socket should never be far away.
In addition, VR content needs a lot of storage space on the device. With Samsung’s current smartphone flagship S7, this is not a big problem thanks to memory card slot. On the other hand, if you use the glasses with the previous model S6, the on-board memory is quickly full.
The VR content is also so large that it can usually not be loaded via the mobile network – and the Wi-Fi in the ICE or at the airport is too weak for entire films or game content. So you should already plan and download at home what you want to experience on the go in virtual reality.
In addition, the smartphone screen is dirty in normal use by fingerprints, which interfere extremely in VR operation in the glasses – a microfiber cloth should therefore always be there. When calling, it becomes cumbersome. If the phone is in glasses use, it remains only to refuse the call, remove the phone from the glasses, and then call back.
Prices and availability
The Gear VR glasses are included in many offers of the current S7 smartphone – users of the Samsung smartphones S6 and Note5 can buy them for 99 euros. The S6 overheated several times in the test in the glasses when demanding applications ran-the successor S7 did not have this problem –
Software can be purchased via the VR App Store from Oculus VR (available via Google Play) or via Samsung’s own Milk VR app store. Games currently cost between five and 15 euros and thus a little more than ordinary smartphone games. Netflix users can also use their subscription virtually.