Action cam company GoPro seemed well poised to play a leading role in VR video, but instead it’s apparently already scaling back.
Forbes is reporting that the company is making “significant cuts” to its work in VR in the latest round of 200 layoffs, announced last week. A source apparently told the site that “no one is left” to oversee this side of the company, not is professional broadcasting technology. The VR division has reportedly already suffered cuts during an initial round of layoffs late last year.
GoPro’s VR slate included two rigs that accommodated multiple Hero4 cameras. The first was the Omni, a six-camera rig launched last August capable of capturing 2D 360 degree footage in up to 8K. It’s aimed at the professional market but still costs a hefty sum, and even the rig without the cameras costs $4,999.99. Its other rig, the 16-camera Odyssey, captures in stereoscopic 3D but is only available to “select industry professionals”. We see plenty of custom, 3D-printed rigs using GoPro cameras, too.
A slate of VR videos shot with these rigs are available on GoPro’s YouTube page, including the one above.
GoPro says that its layoffs will help it refocus on the company’s core operations and emphasise profitability. It sadly doesn’t sound like VR will play much of a role in the company anymore, though there are plenty of other offerings on the market between dedicated 360 cameras and other professional rigs built by companies like IMAX.