Report: GoPro Is Making Significant Cuts To Its VR Efforts

by Jamie Feltham • March 20th, 2017

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.

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  • NooYawker

    If their solution is mulitpled gopros in a big mount, then they definitely should drop VR support not just cut back. I love my GoPro but this makes no sense.

  • Alexander Chu

    Not sure if this is a typo or not, but you wrote, “. . . not is professional broadcasting technology.”

    I think maybe you meant to write “. . . nor its professional broadcasting technology.”

  • Damien Wilson

    GoPro has been on a path to failure for years now. First, they never changed their strategy. They’ve released essentially the same camera in each generation with minor upgrades. Besides that, they foolishly thought people would pay $4K+ for a VR rig (more like camera mount) that required the purchase of multiple GoPro cameras that offered zero longevity from a technological standpoint; not to mention the poor image quality of GoPro VR camera footage. Second, they created an ecosystem designed to milk consumers through over-priced accessories, which caused problems once their competitors begun to release better action-cameras at lower prices. Bottom-line, GoPro acted as if they’d monopolized the action-camera sector, and thereby neglected to innovate their products to a point worthy of acclaim. They seemingly thought the brand name was strong enough to maintain a lead.

    • Jim Cherry

      There used to be another action cam company that was bought by cisco, remember flip cameras, then shuttered. So i dont think it can be said that the action-camera sector is a healthy enough market to be segmented just for vr.

  • 6 last gen GoPros in a bracket for $5000. What were they thinking?

  • Daniel Marcolina

    What will happen with GoPro software assets Kolor/Panotour etc

    • Hugo King-Fretts

      I read on a VR Fb group that Kolor is looking ok in all of this.

  • John

    “the rig without the cameras costs $4,999.99”. This is incorrect. The cost without the cameras is $1500.

  • Me

    Yeah well considering their sales, they should make cuts in every departments to survive…

  • Ben

    360 degree video is not VR.

  • Kevyn Bowling

    The OMNI rig is supposed to have the advantage of syncing all the cameras with five of the cameras mastered to the sixth, but the master camera can’t handle this 100% of the time and often stops recording while the others keep rolling. I think they realized they made a garbage product and are better off letting others solve the 360 array setups while they focus on the cameras.