YouTube VR Varies with device

Step inside a whole new reality with a free Windows VR game

  • Vote:
    9.0 (15)
  • Category:

    PC games

  • Works under:

    Windows 7

  • Also available for:

    Android

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free

Dragging YouTube into the 21st century, the YouTube VR player allows virtual reality aficionados to transform the video-sharing service's regular content into immersive 3D worlds. This is video playback reimagined, with complete 360° viewing sent directly to the brain via a compatible headset.

In point of fact, the rendered 3D video looks like it's been transmitted to some kind of a virtual theatre when YouTube VR performs its video processing hocus-pocus. The experience is akin to a big screen presentation, with the simulated silver screen floating before the user's eyes. A spatial audio processing feature deepens the cleverly rendered perception. The interface even mimics the conventional stylings of the normal, everyday YouTube webpage, as seen on a regular computer monitor. The only difference being, the channels and playlists look large enough to step into, which is a remarkable effect, considering the apparent scale of the page when viewed on a mobile device or computer display.

Virtual reality programming is on the up, and that trend is being picked up by YouTube creators. However, the video format is still in its infancy, so expect the occasional problem when YouTube VR is switched on and the goggles swing down. For starters, the software is device-optimized. It operates relatively smoothly on an HTC Vive, but other headsets could send the service into a series of looping crashes, which will require a patient restart. When playing a 3D game or swimming with virtual sharks, patience isn't necessarily a virtue. On the other hand, all virtual reality platforms are constantly in development, so expect YouTube VR to receive patches regularly. After all, the video sharing service is run by Google, and the search giant isn't about to ignore this active software sector.

Youtube VR is available as a Steam software download. To take advantage of the technology, an up-to-date version of Windows 10 is recommended. Powering the software platform, an Intel i5-6400 or its AMD equivalent should provide plenty of raw processing horsepower. Alongside the CPU requirements, a GeForce GTX980 or Radeon R9 Fury are recommended as hardware minimums. Otherwise, the smoothly rendered video and spatially oriented audio will stutter and crash. Use newer hardware, every single time, especially when working with a graphically intensive VR application. Having said all of that, do remember the downside of technology development. Virtual reality hardware is still evolving, and that statement also applies to the software that renders 360° footage. Whether the video is all around the headset wearer or floating as a simulated theatre screen, it can't load unless there's plenty of under-the-hood CPU power on-tap.

With that said, YouTube VR has received some negative reviews, but many of these complaints could be solved simply by upgrading a computer's hardware.

Pros
  • Loads YouTube content on a simulated theatre screen
  • View 360° video footage
  • Compatible with standard YouTube interface
  • Supported by Google
Cons
  • Reports of viewpoint tracking issues
  • Display max of 1080p
  • Still under development

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