RIP: Google Has Abandoned Its Daydream VR Platform
RIP Google Daydream (November 2016 – October 2019).
Sad news out of New York this morning as Google confirms it has discontinued the production of its Daydream View VR headset and will not be providing VR support for its upcoming Pixel 4, effectively killing the Daydream platform in the process.
While speaking to several news outlets following today’s event in New York, Google confirmed that beginning today, they will cease sales of the Daydream View headset and will no longer be integrating the Daydream platform onto future Pixel smartphones or any other Android devices.
“We are no longer certifying new devices,” a Google spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat.
“There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage overtime of the Daydream View headset,” added an additional spokesperson according to Verge. Although the system had potential, “we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution,” said the spokesperson. “Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.”
Originally announced in May 2016 at Google’s annual I/O conference, the Daydream VR platform launched later that year on the original Pixel smartphone, offering users one of the first quality mobile VR experiences. Over the next three years, Google would go one to provide mild support for the platform via occasional updates to software and content and an expanding lineup of compatible devices; the even released a “1.5” update to the original model.
Unfortunately, the platform — as well as devices such as the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset, would fail to capture the interest of mainstream audiences. While it’s unclear what the final nail in the coffin actually was, it’s highly-likely the high price of certain apps and limited content played as major factors. Earlier this year the company confirmed that its new Pixel 3A would not receive Daydream support; as was the case with every other phone released in 2019.
During the 2018 Google I/O event, the company demonstrated a major shift in interest away from VR in favor of augmented reality. There, the company teased several new AR-related updates on their way to a handful of its proprietary apps, as well as its very own platform, ARCore. Since then, the company has doubled-down on its commitment to AR, adding augmented functionality to Google Search, Google Maps, Google Lens, and a variety of other software.
With the death of the Daydream platform, Google’s only vested interests in VR appear to be its popular 3D VR art app, Tilt Brush, and its timeless Google Cardboard headsets. While I am going to miss the serene tranquility of the Daydream home environment, I am excited to see where Google decides to take the technology next now that it’s focused almost solely on AR.
Feature Image Credit: Google Inc.