Holoride Retrofit hands on at CES 2023: Nausea in any car

VR may still be struggling to find the “killer app,” but let’s not say that developers haven’t gotten pretty smart trying. Holoride promises to turn the back seat of your car into an amusement park with VR synced to the car’s motion. After appearing in 2019 as an offshoot of Audi, the company arrived at CES 2023 with a major breakthrough: it now works on every car.

And to prove the point in the most dramatic way possible, they let me test drive a 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood.

A 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood was parked outside the restaurant.

Since the Holoride system needs to understand the movements of the car in order to interact with the VR environment, it initially worked with a few modern cars that could provide it with the necessary data – all of them Audis. But now, the new $199 Holoride Retrofit simply attaches to your car’s windshield and transmits its own GPS data to a Bluetooth-enabled VR headset. Voila, VR in every car.

Although the Puck Retrofit, which is a little similar to the Amazon Echo Dot, although it is a little smaller than the Fleetwood 1967, there is no compatibility issue: it only needs an air vent to hold it in its water cup. You can use it on the Model T, if you like. Even the lack of a USB port in the car is not a problem, since the Retrofit puck comes with an internal battery that can run it for up to 14 hours.

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Holoride's Retrofit allows you to use VR in the back of any car.

While I don’t usually get sick of VR, I do get sick of reading my phone at stop-and-go traffic, and the thought of donning a VR headset in the car terrified me. I considered popping the Dramamine before my presentation, but for the sake of journalistic integrity, dear reader, I decided to get this just like any of you will.

You can use Holoride with any VR headset, but I used it with the HTC Vive Flow – the same Holoride headset that comes bundled with the $700 starter package. , which was created with him. Planet Ride, a simple demonstration game to ease me into the experience. With the rifle in front of me, I needed to shoot a shape in the sky that matched the color of my reticle.

Look, this game won’t win any awards. But it gave me confidence and calmed me down about car sickness. Things started well. Inside Planet Ride, the VR environment around me slowly merging with the car, my brain didn’t complain. Even translated translated well to the gaming environment. It helps that the 4,805-pound Fleetwood doesn’t do anything fast, and the driver does his best to drive like a train conductor.

My age changed when it was time to change the game. The Holoride system combats extreme car cravings by ensuring that the game’s environment moves in a way that mimics the movement of a real car. Although Holoride’s menus display a rotating background, it’s blurry, and as I flip through the different titles, my brain seems to lose track of what I’m seeing. and what I’m experiencing. It got worse when the intro screen for my next game completely wiped out the environment. By the time I got inside Pixel Ripped 1995: On the RoadI feel… unwell.

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The author wears an HTC Vive Flow VR headset in the back of a vintage Cadillac.

Despite the entertainment — you’re in the back seat of a VR car, playing games on a handheld game system — I was too nauseous to have trouble focusing on it. Pixel torn. In fact, I had to take off the headphones and turn to the window for air. This was not the experience I was really looking for.

After breathing, things went well inside CloudsA mech-fighting title with a clear, realistic view of moving terrain – but more control than I can handle as I struggle to calm my stomach.

Holoride’s phone mirror feature is probably my favorite – you can connect it to your phone and use any app just like you would on your phone, but it’s presented like it would be on a big, round-the-clock TV. mobility. I pulled up YouTube and found it shocking. Many of us have been guilty of turning on our phones during long drives, and this may be a better way to do things without a neck strap. In addition, every mobile game becomes a Holoride title.

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As my journey made its way back to its starting point, I felt relieved to jump off and get some fresh air – but don’t take my experience as universal. I am one, and many Holoriders have enjoyed it without issue.

Is this something I would buy if it didn’t make me sick? No. The $700 starter pack is a lot more than I can imagine shelling out for the little car experience available – and that’s before adding a $20 monthly subscription for access to all the titles (the pack comes with a year free ). But if you already have VR hardware, $200 for a Retrofit might be a reasonable way to get the most out of it without paying for the $70,800 Audi e-tron — one of the few cars in – work with Holoride.

Just save a little money for Dramamine.

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