Google’s new virtual reality platform, Daydream, is about to get a whole lot more apps.
The Californian tech giant has finally allowed anyone to create apps for the platform, TechCrunch reports, opening the door for a rush of new apps and experiences.
Daydream, like its DIY predecessor Google Cardboard, is a form of virtual reality that’s powered by your smartphone. If you have a compatible device, you slot it into a headset, pick up the dedicated remote control, and you’re away. It launched in November 2016, and initially Google only worked with a few hand-picked companies on apps.
This approach is understandable: It means that Google can ensure that only the very best experiences are available to showcase its new technology — something especially important given the full-on nature of virtual reality.
As the company says on its page dedicated to quality requirements for Daydream apps, “designing apps for VR is substantially different than for other platforms, particularly because poorly designed applications or performance issues can make some users feel nauseated.”
In other words: A bad smartphone game might annoy you, but a bad virtual reality app could make you want to vomit.
The flipside of this strategy is that the selection of apps is necessarily limited. (We’ve rounded up 16 of the coolest ones that are currently available here.) By releasing guidelines and letting anyone submit Daydream apps for inclusion in the Google Play app store, the selection available is likely about to get significantly broader.
“To ensure a great user experience, apps for Daydream must follow specific requirements for performance and usability. Only apps that meet the following quality criteria will qualify as a Daydream app on Google Play,” Google tells developers. “Qualifying as a Daydream app will make it easier for Daydream users to discover your app on Google Play and allows your app to appear in Play Store VR.”
Right now, there are only a few phones that are compatible with Daydream, including the Pixel, Google’s flagship smartphone. (Google wants to ensure that phones are sufficiently powerful to avoid performance issues.)
But as more Daydream-ready phones launch throughout 2017, Google is betting that this smartphone-focused model is the best way to encourage ordinary people to take their first steps into virtual reality.
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