The virtual reality system from Holoride will be available across several Audi models, the startup announced. The headset-based system can be had on the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, Q7, Q8, and E-Tron, priced at 699 euros (approximately $698 USD). That's not cheap, but it's roughly on par with the retail cost of the HTC Vive Flow VR system which Holoride is based on. Those who already have an HTC Vive Flow headset can simply purchase a gamepad for 49 euros ($49.80 USD) instead.
However, the system also comes with a subscription fee, which Audi is increasingly fond of. Purchasing the official kit with a new Audi gets you 12 months of free play with the Holoride, but it will cost 19.99 euros ($19.92 USD) a month after that. Alternatively, you can also pay for a full year at once at a monthly equivalent of 14.99 euros ($14.96).
The Holoride system is designed to synchronize with the motion of the vehicle, which apparently helps reduce the likelihood of inducing motion sickness. It takes things a step further, though, with driving events able to influence gameplay in the VR world. As the driver accelerates or turns the vehicle, this is experienced in-game by the passenger wearing the Holoride headset. In earlier videos released by Holoride, this is often in the form of "on-rails" experiences where the player's movement through space is essentially locked to the vehicle they're in.
The kit comes with two original games out of the box. It also includes a couple of puzzle games, while also providing access to web browsing, smartphone mirroring, and loosely-defined "educational experiences." Holoride is expected to be available in the United States market in 2023.
In-car screens and entertainment systems have been available for years. Indeed, having a games console with a small LCD was the hippest mod back in the early 2000s tuner era. However, such features never really went mainstream. Kids do love watching Elmo in the back of minivans, but the rest of us haven't exactly been diving into Call of Duty sessions on the road to Thanksgiving dinner.
In-car gaming isn't yet a big deal, even as some automotive companies are pushing hard into this space. Whether VR can change that remains to be seen. Given virtual reality's slow take rate into the home gaming market, though, it would be surprising to see it become big in the auto world.
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