Valve’s Yates: ‘Spherical photos and video are not VR’

Both spherical photo and video content have come a long way in 2015. YouTube recently added support for 360 degree footage to its video sharing platform, and even allow Android users to view this content with the Google Cardboard mobile virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). Facebook, meanwhile, has confirmed that it is bringing this content to its site, and will allows Oculus Rift owners to view that content through the HMD. But, despite this media being compatible with VR HMDs, Valve’s Alan Yates is convinced that the content itself cannot be clarified as VR.


Taking to Twitter this week, the Chief Pharologist noted: “Spherical photos and video are not VR! They are one form of content you can experience in a HMD, but they basically suck.” When later asked for his opinion on one rapidly growing area, lightfield technology, Yates explained that, in his opinion, ‘lightfield is far more compelling.’ Companies such as OTOY are currently placing a lot of emphasis on this area, essentially allowing for full environmental capture of real areas within VR.

Yates’ may be damning of 360 degree media but clearly not everyone is. VRSE is a company making plenty of this content already with its own mobile and PC app, and has attracted a lot of attention for works like Clouds Over Sidra.

VRFocus will continue to follow any and all HMD-compatible media, be it videogames, 2D panoramic films or more, reporting back with the latest on them.