The mobile VR space, in its current form, is an exercise in compromise. Headsets tend to be bulky and uncomfortable. Apps, for the most part, are far from the most premium of affairs. Workarounds or even outright hacks can be a requirement for certain content. At their 2016 Google I/O conference, Google rolled out Daydream, a new type of mobile VR platform that just may bring mobile VR into somewhat direct competition with PC-based VR solutions. Compared to current systems, Daydream is a breath of fresh air. A single universal controller that's gesture-compatible and has a comfortable and rich control scheme is part of the system, which can only be used with phones certified by Google to provide the best possible experience.
While Samsung's Gear VR may be powerful, deriving some of its power from its Oculus-compatible library, it still only fits a few select phones, is somewhat bulky and, of course, boasts a fairly counter-intuitive control scheme. While the Gear VR is superbly engineered and delivers a great experience, it still smacks of compromise; rather than building a VR experience that fits a smartphone, the Gear VR is a VR experience that can tolerate a smartphone as the guts. With its new controller, the promise of powerful hardware and the equally important promise of incredibly comfortable hardware, Google's Daydream seems fit to buck all of these trends. Add in high-powered gaming with support for Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, and you have a recipe for something that could truly revolutionize the mobile VR space.
Tons of studios have already announced their intent to work with Daydream, including nDreams, an outfit formed by a former Eidos top gun. It seems that there will be a slew of content made exclusively to Daydream's specifications on launch, with even more coming out later. This means that the experience, rather than being a simple VR experience made to run on a phone, will be specifically mindful of what makes Daydream unique and premium. This push for high-quality, precision-catered content may be just what the mobile VR space needs to go from being a paragon of mediocrity to the kind of compelling experience that stands a good chance at disrupting the way users interact with devices.