Virtual Reality hardware is now trickling into consumer hands, and more and more developers are starting to reveal the experiments they've designed for the medium. Consuming traditional 2D media, be it games or video content, with a VR HMD appears to be a popular idea, and there are several apps out there that allow you to view such content on virtual big screens.
Oculus includes a feature that will let you play your Xbox One games on a virtual theater screen, and Valve has integrated a desktop view into SteamVR that will let you access anything on your computer, including playing any game found in your Steam library, on a large hovering 2D screen. Virtual Desktop is a third-party example that lets you set up your PC’s desktop environment within a 3D world. You can resize and reshape your screens, and it lets you change the surrounding environment.
Each of these ideas let you access traditional 2D content in a VR environment, but BigScreen takes the idea and adds a multiplayer twist to it.
BigScreen lets you share your gaming or viewing experience with others in VR. You can meet up with friends in virtual environments where you can each have your own custom display (effectively creating a virtual LAN party). The software supports up to four players in a room, and it supports positional audio so you can chat among each other as if you were sitting around physically in a space. Players sharing an environment will be able to play games together, or share displays to view a movie or a Twitch stream. BigScreen said that the current version doesn’t support shared desktop audio, but that feature will come in a later update.
BigScreen will let you configure the size of your virtual display from 30 inches all the way to 65 inches, and it will let you adjust the curvature, angle and height of the display to suit your desires. You can also set up wall-sized displays that are up to 20 feet across, which could come in handy for a group movie night.
BigScreen Beta is available today to anyone with an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift VR HMD, and it is cross-platform so you can join friends with either HMD. BigScreen is available through Steam--for free.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.