LAS VEGAS – This morning in Las Vegas we had the opportunity to try Holoridethe entertainment system in virtual reality developed by the company of the same name e meant for the rear passengers of a car. Sounds a bit crazy to you? Well maybe it is, but it could really become a gamechanger, changing the way video games are developed and thought about in the future.
What is Holoride and how does it work
Holoride is an entertainment system in VR (virtual reality) designed for those who sit in the back seats during long – and perhaps boring – car journeys. The Holoride brand was born as a rib of the Audi brand, while from 2019 it becomes completely independent. Over the last few years he has developed VR solutions for various dome car manufacturers Porsche and Ford.
Tell it like a simple VR entertainment system for the car it might seem crazy first of all because those who know how virtual reality works know exactly what the implications of this technology placed on board a moving vehicle are: motion sickness, or the typical malaise that could occur (playing stationary, let alone in movement).
However, Holoride has come up with a truly innovative solution: car racing is perfectly synchronized with the game. In fact, the Holoride system is not only composed of a viewer (an HTC Vive Flow with a specially developed interface) but also of a controller and a small “gimmick” which is used to synchronize the car’s movements with the games (or more generically with the contents). In our case the viewer was connected directly to an Audi e-tron via Bluetooth technology but in general Holoride works on any type of car (here at CES in Las Vegas, Holoride was also shown aboard a very old school Cadillac).
The contraption – that’s called Holoride Retrofit – inside it integrates GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope. These sensors collect data, send them to the viewer, which processes them and reproduces them within the contents. To put it simply: the car’s movements are synchronized with the movements of the game, decreasing the unpleasant sensation of motion sicknes.
The contents of Holoride: games but also edutainment
The first game we tried transported us to a kind of puzzle bubble but in motion. Aboard a small vehicle equipped with a cannon, we ended up shooting some balls and to aim them we only had to turn our heads in their direction. Our cannon vehicle obviously moved with movements synchronized with those of the car. When we stopped at traffic lights, our vehicle stopped; when the car turned right, so did our vehicle in the video game. Zero motion sickness here and I must say it was hilarious because the sensation conveyed by the game is absolutely new.
The second game we tried – called Cloudbreakers: Leaving Haven – instead put us to the test: a more complex game, aboard a spaceship that required much more movement: in addition to that of the car, in the game we could move both with our eyes and with the controller. Three possibilities of simultaneous movements that increase the possibility of nausea. For particularly sensitive people – who usually suffer from cars – this game is definitely not recommended.
For now, there aren’t many applications available, but it’s also true that the service is very young and the promise is that the store will be populated with other titles in the near future (not just video games but also edutainment). In all of this, from the main menu of Holoride – a kind of homepage – it is also possible to mirror the phone to be able to watch, for example, videos on Youtube or videos on Netflix on the virtual reality viewer while sitting comfortably in the car.
Holoride availability and price
Holoride is available on the market (USA and Germany) starting immediately and can be purchased on the company website at the price of $799. We do not know if the future of Holoride is rosy but it is certainly one of the most innovative and exciting things that we have had the opportunity to experience at this CES 2023.