It has been a little more than a month since the Kickstarter campaign launch of CLOVR and they seem to be going strong and making a substantial impact within the VR-gaming community. Since their Kickstarter launch, they have garnered a lot of attention from both media platforms and backers of their Kickstarter project, proving that there is a market for an entry-level VR experience.
CLOVR aims to make VR gaming accessible and available to the masses, at a fraction of the cost of traditional VR gaming brands, by removing the need for expensive hardware and software, which is apparent in other brands, such as Oculus, HTC Vive and PSVR. In its essence, CLOVR is an application that can transform any game into virtual reality. The app takes what you see on the PC screen, converts it into a stereoscopic VR-ready format and then streams it to your phone via WiFi.
CLOVR successfully provides an affordable and simple way to experience VR, where the user will only need to purchase a cheap VR headset and a subscription of the CLOVR service, granted that the user already has a PC, a mobile phone and games to play.
CLOVR supports all games up to 60fps, provided the PC is able to run the game smoothly at 60fps. The app also wirelessly streams the video to the phone, making the VR experience to be wireless, allowing the user to experience VR gaming without being restricted or tied down by cables connected to the headset, like traditional VR gaming experiences. The user will be free to walk around while enjoying their VR gaming experience, making it all the more immersive.
Another major feature that CLOVR is able to provide, is head-tracking. CLOVR utilizes the inbuilt gyroscope within the user’s phone to perform seamless head-tracking. This provides the user with 3DOF (3 Degrees of Freedom), left to right, up and down, side to side. The CLOVR team also has plans to implement Oculus VR, HTC Vive and other controller support which will provide 6DOF in the future.
The last feature, which the CLOVR team prides themselves upon, is that CLOVR is affordable and easy to setup. By providing users the chance to experience VR gaming at a fraction of the cost of traditional options. The setup is also extremely simple, by just launching the CLOVR app on the phone and PC, selecting the game to launch from the phone app and placing the phone into the VR headset, the user is ready to start experiencing their games in VR.
In theory, CLOVR is an amazing idea and can bring VR gaming to the masses. But after trying it out, I personally feel that although the idea of CLOVR is interesting and the first of its kind, it is unable to provide the VR Gaming experience that gamers are expecting. This is mainly due to a hurdle that the CLOVR team does not expressly state. The crosshair cannot be decoupled from the game itself, this means that rather than looking around in the headset and aiming with external hardware, the crosshair is fixed to the center of the screen and the user has to use their head to aim the crosshair. For FPS games, this is extremely difficult to get used to and makes precision aiming extremely difficult, as the gyroscope in the phone is extremely sensitive. This leads to the constant need to move your head around, in the case of L4D2, in order to aim at the numerous waves of zombies coming towards you. The constant looking around paired with the 60fps cap of the device, induces disorientation and nausea. After about 2 mins of trying out CLOVR on L4D2, I found the game difficult to play and I was starting to feel disoriented.
Apart from the one criticism I have toward CLOVR, I feel that for the price point that they are offering, it is still worth purchasing and trying, for anyone who wants to try VR gaming without burning a hole in their wallet. CLOVR is not for avid gamers or gamers that already own high-end VR gaming setups, but rather for gamers new to the VR experience, which is a market that is currently growing exponentially and forecasted to further grow in the near future.
CLOVR is scheduled to be launched globally by September 2018, with a subscription business model starting as low as USD 0.99/month.