It was an inevitable development. Given how many Google Cardboard variations there are out in the wild, things could quickly get out of hand, and it wouldn’t be good for Google‘s reputation, however indirect it may be. So it feels almost natural that Google would tighten the reins on the DIY VR headset hype of its own making and initiate a more formal program called, what else, “Works with Cardboard”. In a nutshell, this program will guarantee users that they will get, more or less, the same quality VR experience in any certified app using any certified headset.
This means that Cardboard headset makers won’t have too worry too much about their varying designs and materials used. They can simply input the specs of their headset, like the lens focal length or the input type and they will be given a QR code that contains this data. Users can then just simply scan that code using the Google Cardboard app and it will automatically adjust Cardboard apps to match those specs well. Manufacturers can now also start applying for a certification “Works with Cardboard” badge that they can proudly flaunt on their wares to make it even more official.
This does mean that app developers will also have to do a bit of work to ensure a pleasurable experience for their users, no matter the make of the headset used. Fortunately, they won’t have to madly try to support every single build and variant of Cardboard headset in the wild. They simply have to follow Google’s guidelines and use the official Cardboard SDK and they can rest assured that it will all work in the end. Hopefully.
Virtual Reality is still on the verge of becoming a more established market, but Google claims that there are already hundreds of Cardboard apps available taking advantage of its more open ecocystem, ranging from games, to multimedia, to unique experiences. And there are even more coming in terms of supported technology, with Thrive Audio surround audio from Dublin’s Trinity College School of Engineering and Tilt Brush 3D painting joining in on the fun. Now all that’s left is for Google to setup a Cardboard shop in its fancy new Google Store.