Windows desktop becomes VR with a new app for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive

By: Madeleine Dean
2 minute read

Not only do the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive power extraordinary gaming experiences, but also have the capability of turning a Windows 10 desktop into a wraparound experience. With the recently launched Virtual Desktop, users can now browse the web, check Outlook inboxes, or even or watch movies via a VR headset. How cool is this?

The good news does not stop here: users can actually continue to use all the apps they would normally use on their desktop computer with no limitation in terms of compatibility. In other words, you can access apps that haven’t even been developed for virtual reality.

Since this is a newly launched app, readability bugs have already been detected by users. However, future updates should fix this soon. Other features include:

  • Hardware accelerated 360 video playback
  • Ability to play/stream YouTube 360 videos
  • Browse and view 360 photos
  • MilkDrop support for music visualization
  • 3D Side-By-Side video support
  • Game launcher with voice commands
  • Multiple monitors
  • Environment Editor to create custom environment

(READ ALSO: Augmented Reality Apps for the Windows 8, 10 Store Explained)

For more information about the system requirements necessary for Virtual Desktop, go to Steam’s page. As far the user feedback is concerned, more than 85% of the users rated Virtual Desktop as a positive experience — something that is worth a wow:

The current gold standard for using your VR HMD in everyday computing. A must have, plays almost all your VR videos like a champ, and does what Steam VR and Oculus Home do not. Once you can create multiple virtual windows, then this may very well be the Perfect VR App.

And another user confirms this awesome desktop VR experience:

Money well spent! Love the app. Runs smooth and light. With a good HMD you truly can replace your screens! This stuff is here to stay and that makes me happy good software!

Up until now, the general trend was to focus on movies and games when it comes to developing virtual reality apps. Given this new app, it’s fair to say that we can expect to see an app that allows us to use smartphones in a similar manner. Just imagine that: walking around with your VR headset connected to your Windows phone!

Could this be the next stage of VR? Remember that photo of Mark Zuckerberg from MWC 2016 walking around a conference room where everybody had their VR headsets on? Could the streets look like this in the future, or is this too far-fetched? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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