The first tetherless multi-user VR experience hits North American market, but is it everything we were promised?
First announced last year, TPCast’s Business Edition adapter made the promise of delivering low latency, multi user VR experiences to businesses across the U.S. Since then, various developers have waited on baited breath for more news regarding the potentially groundbreaking wireless solution.
Finally that day has come as the TPCast BE officially launches in the U.S. market to the delight of American-based VR companies. However, this isn’t the exact same adapter we were introduced to initially. The TPCast BE has undergone several alterations since its announcement last year, ditching the long promised 6-user support in favor of a more stable 4-user system. The adapter will also support just the HTC Vive headsets at launch with Oculus-compatibility planned for Q3 of 2018.
Beyond that, there aren’t any other major alterations from what was initially promised. The system still includes a wireless receiver mounted to the top of the headset, a battery pack strapped to the rear, a PC transmitter module, as well as a “business class” router capable of delivering that same sub-2-millisecond latency found in the original consumer model.
Unfortunately this wireless solution, while powerful, won’t cut it when it comes to the recently announced Vive Pro headset. The TPCast provides a connection capable of transmitting 2K resolution, perfect for the standard Vive, but incompatible with the Vive Pro due to its massive 4K resolution.
With location-based VR experiences and immersive arcades on the rise in both the West as well as the East, providing a reasonably-priced, quality solution for wireless VR could be a godsend. The entry price for these budding businesses can already be expensive without wireless functionality. A simpler, cheaper alternative to multi-user wireless VR could open up the floodgates to a whole new wave of multiplayer VR experiences from both established companies and amateur development teams.
The TPCast Business Edition adapter is available now in North America via the official company website. Those interested can reach out to the company directly for detailed pricing (the original TPCast Consumer Edition retails for roughly $300-$340 as a comparison).