Google Daydream VR Platform May Shut Down Soon As One Of Original Partners Pulls Support To The Video Streaming Service

The Google Daydream VR platform, and perhaps the associated hardware, may shut down soon. Although Google hasn’t officially confirmed the news, developments surrounding the same strongly indicate the possibility. Launched back in 2016, Google Daydream implied a promise of 360-degree dynamic movies with a theatre-like immersive experience. The gradual shutting down of the platform could be part of Google’s steady march towards Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality.

Hulu Pulling Support For Google Daydream Could Be Just Another Signal About The Service Shutting Down:

Google Daydream launched in 2016. Back then, Google claimed to offer a virtual theater-style experience for watching movies and TV shows through a Daydream headset. The headset appeared to be made from premium cloth-like material. It didn’t include any electronic hardware, and instead, relied completely on the smartphone’s internal components like orientation sensor, gyroscope, and compass to manipulate the perspective of the videos that were shown to users wearing the Google Daydream headset. Needless to add, video content that could be played on the headset needed to be shot with completely different and expensive hardware. As expected, there was only a small selection of 360-degree content.

The latest development around Google Daydream is strongly indicating that Google might soon shutter the service. Hulu, one of the popular streaming platforms and Netflix’s rival, has pulled support for its Daydream VR App. The video streaming service quietly removed Daydream support from its Android app. In recent weeks, Hulu has been making it impossible for most Daydream users to watch Hulu videos on Google’s Daydream View VR headset. Acknowledging the development, a Hulu’s Support Page notes:

“The VR experience with Google Daydream is no longer supported for Android mobile devices running version 3.55 or newer of the Hulu app. That said, it is still available on Daydream-capable Android devices running version 3.54.1 or older of the Hulu app.”

Hulu was one of Google’s original launch partners for Daydream. In addition to the small catalog of videos optimized for Daydream, Hulu also published a small selection of 360-degree content. Incidentally, Hulu is not the first platform to drop support for Daydream. Quite recently, HBO had removed its HBO Now and HBO Go VR apps from the platform. If that’s not a strong enough indicator, even Google recently discontinued Google Play Movies for Daydream.

Is Virtual Reality Being Phased Out Or Losing Popularity?

There were not one but two iterations of the Daydream viewers, and Google had even announced plans for standalone devices from multiple manufacturers based on Daydream in 2017. However, one of the companies pulled out even before releasing the same. During the same time, Samsung had been promoting its Gear VR headset. Moreover, even Lenovo introduced Daydream-based Mirage Solo VR headset last year. It is now been listed as ‘Sold Out’ with no confirmed indication of being restocked.

Google hasn’t added Daydream support to the latest or previous generation of Pixel Series smartphones. Meanwhile, Samsung has also dropped support for the platform on its latest handsets. A quick visit to the Google Daydream website indicates no current-generation smartphones are currently compatible with the platform.

This clearly indicates that most of the technology giants, except perhaps Facebook, HTC and a few others, truly believe in Virtual Reality becoming popular. However, this doesn’t mean VR is completely dead. With Microsoft’s HoloLens, Facebook’s Oculus Go VR headset, and a few more still in the market, new technologies based on VR could take off. Tech companies appear to be betting big on Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). But these new technologies are expected to go beyond entertainment. Companies are developing AR and MR based products to help in industries and boost automation.


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