Virtual reality (VR) gaming is quite popular. Most require some type of online gaming interface. How should public libraries accommodate patron interest in this technology? There's an inexpensive tool that libraries may circulate in their collections that allows patrons to access online VR environments without the library having to subscribe to any databases or devote library computers to gaming use. Libraries may purchase Cynoculars, an inexpensive VR headset ($19.95 per set) that patrons could use with their own mobile devices to play VR games online.
Introductory video courtesy of Cynoculars.com
Cynoculars look like this:
Just kidding. They really look like this:
Yep, Pretty Much
Visit the Cynoculars website to learn much more about this device.
Sandra Osborn, M.L.S., our technical services director, described Cynoculars in staff training, outlining our library's circulation particulars:
"We now have a Virtual Reality headset available for circulation. It has a 7-day circulation period with no renewals, $.25 per day overdue fine, and $20.00 replacement fee. It is holdable. Please note that the patron will need an iOS or Android Smartphone that will fit into the cartridge. Larger Smartphones may not fit, so you may want the patron to see if theirs will work. The patron will need to search “VR” in the App Store or Google Play for apps to download and use with the headset.
"For now, we are going to keep the VR headset in a kit bag. The bag includes a remote control with 2 AAA batteries and a polishing cloth. It also has 7 laminated instruction cards on a ring."
How satisfying a game experience do Cynoculars provide? We're no experts, but we could see the iPhone screen reasonably well while wearing the headset. Your results may vary, of course. It's strictly a matter of personal preference.
Cynoculars may or may not be the right choice for your patrons, but, for us, it was an affordable option to provide a VR headset patrons could checkout. For $20, it's worth a try. It might make some of your patrons quite happy, and the circulation statistics are always welcome.