YouTube is emerging as one of Google’s highest priorities in VR, and now the service is coming to competitor Facebook’s Oculus Store for Gear VR.
YouTube VR is already available on Google’s own Daydream headsets, and on Sony’s store for PlayStation VR, as well as on Steam with support listed for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The YouTube VR app delivers the vast growing library of YouTube content on a big screen plus hundreds of thousands of videos made in 360- and 180-degree formats. Among these immersive videos there are some high quality productions commissioned specifically for YouTube by Google. The app is expected to be available on the Oculus Store for Gear VR this week.
A Google spokesperson declined to say anything specific about Oculus Go support for YouTube VR, but gave the following statement: “We want everyone with a VR headset to be able to experience YouTube VR, and we’re working to bring it to more VR platforms in the future.” Google previously brought to the Oculus store Google Earth for exploration and both Tilt Brush and Blocks for creation. Last year, the ad giant acquired Owlchemy Labs,which also sells Job Simulator and Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-ality for Rift on the Oculus Store.
While many YouTube 360-degree and 180-degree videos available on YouTube might be poorly captured and your Internet connection might stream at low resolutions, the type of immersive content that works well on the service is also getting easier to make. Google’s VR180 format and new cameras which use it could enable a new generation of higher quality content. Also, once YouTube is available on so many platforms, Google might be able to push the boundaries on reactivity by funding new projects that are built to respond to your gaze.
Google is also taking this opportunity to begin rolling out its first true VR social features for YouTube — if you click the on the Watch Together “icon beneath the play controls from your Daydream View or Gear VR” you’ll be able to “watch and discuss videos with others in a communal, virtual space.”