Your smartphone-based VR has another trick.
There's already a lot you can experience with Google Cardboard. Quick horror experiences to make your friends jump, exciting trips on roller coaster you may never go on yourself, and concerts to watch as though you're in the audience top a surprisingly long list of possibilities. There are hundreds of Google Cardboard apps available for anyone to try, but if you're looking for something to try that is just a step above your average app the folks behind VRidge want you to see what desktop-class VR is like without relying on Oculus or Valve for anything.
We've seen VRidge used to stream Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games with limited success, but VRidge is also its own platform. There are dedicated VRidge games and apps that offer a unique experience you can enjoy without access to the Oculus Store or Steam VR. You'll need a PC to get started, but the minimum system requirements are noticeably less than the current desktop-class heavyweights. If you have an i5 with 4GB of RAM and the equivalent of a GTX 650 GPU, you're well on your way to having fun.
VRidge installs on your phone and prompts you to install Riftcat on your desktop. As long as your phone and PC are on the same wireless network, Riftcat will connect to VRidge immediately and you'll be able to start playing. Currently, Riftcat has 26 free games available to play from your PC to your phone. The display on your phone splits like any other Google Cardboard app, and as long as you're using a Cardboard headset with a strap you can reach out to your mouse and keyboard to game. Most Riftcat games are modified PC games, so you look around with your head and use the mouse and keyboard to interact with the world around you.
There's a fairly healthy mix of horror games, adventure games, and of course massive 360-degree photo explorations apps for everyone to explore. In all of our tests, VRidge had no problem maintaining 60fps streaming to the phone and offered an entertaining upgrade to your average Google Cardboard app. If you're looking for a fun way to try Desktop-class VR and you're not ready to spend money on the headsets or their games, this is a solid way to have a lot of fun.