The future of Google’s VR180 video format is now uncertain, according to a new report by Variety.
The VR180 initiative was announced by Google back in 2017, aiming to provide a way to easily film high-quality, stereoscopic 180 degree videos, without needing to stitch multiple videos together. The resulting footage could be viewed natively on YouTube in browsers or in a virtual reality headset.
Google had previously announced partnerships with YI Technology and Lenovo to produce VR180-capable cameras. However, according to Variety, Lenovo has stopped selling its Mirage 180VR camera in the US, while YI has “all but given up” on even launching their VR180 camera.
The Lenovo Mirage was first shown at CES 2018, and was first available for pre-order for $299 in March 2018. YI Technology’s offering, the YI Horizon VR180, was also shown at CES 2018 and was meant to go on sale later that year. However, it never eventuated on store shelves and a spokesperson from YI told Variety they have no intention of launching the camera this year either.
Google had also announced a partnership with LG to produce a VR180 camera, however that announcement was the first and last time we heard anything about the hypothetical LG VR180 camera.
One of the last major events to be streamed in the VR180 format was the Coachella music festival last year. However, with a lack of any concrete news about future VR180 hardware, where Google takes the format is now up in the air. According to Variety, when reached for comment, a Google spokesperson said the company had no updates to share regarding the VR180 platform.
Do you own a VR180 camera, or have you used one in the past? Let us know what you think in the comments below.