Amazon Video is Building a VR Platform
With Netflix and Hulu already represented in the virtual reality space, it was only a matter of time before Amazon joined the fray. According to new job posting on Glassdoor Amazon Video is looking to hire a senior software development manager for virtual reality and it doesn’t seem like it will be a single hire either.
The posting’s description calls for a talented developer who will “lead [their] Virtual Reality team” who will be responsible for “building the Virtual Reality experience within Amazon Video.”
“Entertainment is evolving rapidly,” the description continues, “the Virtual Reality team will explore and create the platform and interface for immersive storytelling. This will include an ingestion and playback platform for Virtual Reality experiences.”
Based on the description Amazon Video appears to be building not just a platform where viewers can watch their flatscreen content in a virtual environment, similar to the approaches that Hulu and Netflix are taking, but rather a platform for distribution of 360 VR content. This could place them in the same realm as YouTube’s 360º video platform or WEVR’s recently announced Transport. While both YouTube and WEVR have been funding 360º content of their own, it is unclear if Amazon will follow suit themselves or if they will simply be more of a content distributor.
Interestingly Amazon Video’s arguably biggest competitor, Netflix, recently spoke out about a desire to get into the 360º content creation scene themselves with the company’s VP of Product Innovation saying “we’re very interested in where it could go in storytelling…We’re tracking where that goes.” From that quote it seems like they will likely take a wait and see approach, but that they are very interested in the space.
Amazon has been fairly active in the AR and VR scene as of late, releasing a number of patent designs for AR products, launching Lumberyard – a new game engine with incoming VR support, and creating a launch site on Amazon.com for VR products and with this job posting it seems that the company is going to continue to expand its efforts in the space. It seems that it is only a matter of time before Amazon begins adding WebVR and AR functionality to their shopping experience, similar to what we saw demoed with vRetail and with Meta’s AR glasses.