Google's new virtual reality initiative, Daydream, is promising "the best smartphone -based mobile VR experience" ever made. But for now, the Daydream VR headset is just an abstract concept, a sketch on paper -- even for the developers that Google expects to start building apps for the platform.
On Thursday, Google's developer website revealed that, for now, prospective VR app developers will need to piece together their own developer kit from existing parts, including a smartphone ($499, £449 or AU$899) that, Google warns, may not be able to maintain the required level of performance for a comfortable VR experience.
Instead of being provided with the official Daydream headset and motion controller, developers will also need to simulate them too. They'll need to purchase an existing VR viewer, such as a Daydream controller emulator on it., to fit around the Nexus 6P. And they'll need a second phone to serve in place of the controller, by installing
Google expects the real Daydream headset and controller, as well as the first Daydream-ready phones from partners including Samsung, LG and HTC, to be available this fall.
Even if they don't have Daydream hardware to work with, developers can expect some industry-leading game development tools to help them get started. Epic Games' popular Unreal Engine 4 development environment supports Daydream as of today, and Epic released the video above to show what's possible with Unreal Engine and Daydream.
The Unity game development environment, a rival to Unreal that's been popular with VR game developers, will also support Daydream this summer, and developers will have the option to write apps natively with the C++ programming language.
When developers publish those apps, they'll be able to put them inside a version of Google's Play Store marketplace specifically built for VR, and users will be able to pay for them right inside the headset, according to Google.
Check out our feature story, "A Glimpse inside Google's VR Daydream," for more details about Google's vision for virtual reality.
Google I/O 2017
reading•Daydream VR devs will hack together their own headsets
Aug 22•How to download Android Oreo right now
Aug 21•Android Oreo wants to make your phone twice as fast
May 26•Google's three-step plan to make you love VR
May 23•Bye, Siri: 6 tips for using Google Assistant on the iPhone