Once a shining light in the virtual reality (VR) space, offering consumers an easy entry point into the technology, Samsung’s Gear VR was killed off in 2019. As the company continues this wind-down it recently announced that the Samsung XR service will be closed by the end of September.
Samsung XR provided users with a mixture of content, mainly comprising 360-degree videos and images. Quietly issuing a statement last week, Samsung has already stopped 360° video uploads, updates for Samsung XR and Samsung VR Video clients and suspended premium video purchases.
By 30th June, Oculus Go, Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest will no longer support the Samsung VR Video app. The service will be completely suspended by 30th September, removed from Oculus and Microsoft Mixed Reality stores and all published videos deleted.
This demise has been on the cards for a while, as Samsung stopped mentioning Gear VR at its Unpacked events. Even though the Galaxy S10 series did support the headset the Note 10 didn’t, and the latest S20 lineup couldn’t provide support due to the partnership cancellation with Oculus.
In a statement, the company notes: “Samsung is rethinking its immersive video distribution service, especially given that Gear VR is no longer available. We remain engaged with the ecosystem, exploring the potential of mobile AR and volumetric technologies.”
Augmented reality (AR) provides far more exciting potential for smartphone makers as it means consumers can still easily access their devices, rather than locking them away in a headset which massively drains the battery.
With the advent of devices like Oculus Quest the era of smartphone-based VR was all but over. Google stopped selling its Daydream View headsets in late 2019, as the system never gained tracktion and its newest Pixel phones dropped support.
Samsung is still in the VR space thanks to the Odyssey+ but the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem hasn’t been massively popular. VRFocus will continue its coverage of Samsung, reporting back with further updates.