For a long time, virtual reality was too much of the former, not enough of the later. Things are changing fast, however. In March, Facebook coughed up $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift headset (your author used it at a “Game of Thrones” exhibition at SXSW and walked away very impressed). And on Thursday, Jaunt VR introduced its first app for Google’s own Cardboard VR viewer (yes, apparently all we've ever needed for an immersive VR experience is a smartphone, cardboard, magnets and a washer) that transports the users into one of the most magical realms of the imagination: a Paul McCartney concert.
According to their website, the new app is Jaunt’s “first publicly released cinematic VR experience” and captures McCartney’s performance of “Live and Let Die” during the final concert ever at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. The app (which is free to download, though you’ll need Google Cardboard, which costs $9.99) allows users to “Feel as though you’re by Sir Paul’s side” thanks to the “360 degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras, and 3D sound-field microphones.”
Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff gave the app a whirl and sounded very impressed.
“I definitely felt like I was at the center of the action -– not an audience member, but a participant,” Ulanoff wrote. He does mention that “the video was not as sharp as I expected” and that there were no fast forward controls, but dismisses them as “minor quibbles.”
“If you ever wanted to know what it feels like to not only attend a Paul McCartney concert but to stand on stage with the master himself, you have to try this app,” Ulanoff concludes.
For now, the only way to try the app is with Google Cardboard, although the company is planning a release for Oculus Rift soon. Jaunt will also be launching apps for a WWII adventure entitled “The Mission” as well as “Kaiju Fury!” where giant monsters battle it out ala Pacific Rim.
But for now, this bold new foray into VR begins with Sir Paul McCartney. If Jaunt takes off -- and its CEO Jens Christiansen has called it “a completely new medium for entertainment” -- Macca may have add another sidenote to his already lengthy list of historic firsts.
Watch a non-immersive, fan-shot video of McCartney performing "Hey Jude" at the Candlestick show above.