LAN parties are great. They bring people together in one place, letting them play local or online games lag-free, and people get to enjoy everyone’s reactions in person. Of course getting your PC or console to someone else’s house, sorting out scheduling and transport, it’s not always easy. That’s why the BigScreen Steam application could be the perfect way to get that LAN experience in the near future.
Set to launch this Thursday, April 28, on Steam, the BigScreen beta will let anyone play any game they like in VR, but in a LAN environment. Sit down with your digital buddies’ hands and heads as you play a game of Rocket League on a giant 2D screen within VR, or set up a game of Gang Beasts and battle it out in the game, in virtual reality.
It’s a little Inception-like, but by being able to play any game in virtual reality, in a social setting, gamers can not only play the same games their non-VR counterparts are without taking off their headset, but it can also mean getting together with some friends to play a game is only a VR trip away — instead of potentially many real-life miles.
The application, developed by Darshan Shankar, will be available for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive users, though it is suggested as a seated-only experience, since it wants to replicate the couch gaming experience of hotseat or local gaming.
It’s not just about playing though. BigScreen also enables users to watch movies on giant, Imax-size screens, or just stream YouTube or Twitch right to the monster display. The environment too can be customized, from comfortable living room, to outer space.
The application will support one to four players at launch, with low-latency, positional audio chat built right in. It also features encrypted screen sharing, so nobody will be able to tap in and view your streams without your express permission.
Early reviews for the software are strong, with Engadget even going so far as to say that it helps turn VR from something you use sparingly into an everyday activity.
What games would you like to play socially in virtual reality?