Upon hearing the words ‘Google Cardboard’ you’d think that this meant some sort of magical, intuitive, digital cardboard box… And you’d be kind right
Google have taken it upon themselves to make something currently limited to the minority and make it more accessible for the majority. In this instance: virtual reality (VR).
Google cardboard is essentially a flat pack self-assembled cardboard box that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality headset. Confused? Well, imagine a viewfinder: Google Cardboard has a neat little slot at the front where you can neatly slide your smartphone into. You then load up a VR optimised video (or game) onto your mobile and before you know it you’re looking into another world and being whisked away by an alternate reality. The kit I managed to get my hands on was a ‘Dark Shader’ kit from ZAAK.
Unlike super tech companies with hundred pound headsets, cardboard kits cost between £12-30 (depending on retailer). That’s mega cheap. And given current software, they’re just as effective.
I’ve tried the Oculus rift: one of the major contenders in the world of VR, which I thought was really impressive. It’s amazing just how easy your mind adjusts to the virtual environment. In comparison Google Cardboard is never going to be a serious challenger in the gaming arena, but that’s not the point. What cardboard does, is open the platform to a larger audience who can then develop new and interesting ideas.
The real value for Google will come from when more companies run marketing campaigns using Google Cardboard. John Lewis and Volvo have already experimented using the technology with mixed results.
In a previous article I spoke about the future of VR. And I think the big picture is that VR is quickly becoming a technology that more and more companies want a piece of. And you can guarantee that the more companies that are involved, the more likely it is going to become a domestic technology.
Written by Kris Makuch, September 2015