Over the last year or so Google has been slowly winding down its involvement in virtual reality (VR). 2019 saw the company halt sales of its mobile-based Daydream View headset and now it’s officially confirmed the platform won’t be supported by Android 11.
In a post via a support page, Google says: “The Daydream VR app is no longer supported by Google and may not work properly on some devices running Android 11 or later.” If you own and still use your Daydream View headset then you may want to hold off updating your phone with the statement adding: “Many of the third-party apps and experiences within Daydream may still be available as standalone apps in the Google Play store.”
The Daydream platform launched in 2016 when mobile VR was still seen as a viable avenue for consumers, alongside rival Gear VR. Yet the platform never saw widescale adoption even with the addition of a redesigned headset in 2017 and the arrival of Lenovo Mirage Solo a year later.
Once standalone headsets started arriving with inside-out tracking and 6 degree-of-freedom (6DoF) controls that signed the death knell for smartphone VR. At the same time as halting sales of Daydream View, Google’s new Pixel 4 was revealed, dropping support as well. 2019 was also the year that Google Spotlight Stories closed – which produced immersive experience Age of Sail – ending a six-year run.
Google hasn’t completely dropped its interest in VR. Apps like Tilt Brush and Google Earth VR are still supported and the tech giant owns Owlchemy Labs, the studio behind Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator. Whether the company returns to VR hardware remains to be seen, for the near future that looks unlikely.
Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, is still a prime focus. Google Maps’ ‘Live View’ AR feature launched last year with new updates continuing to be rolled out.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Google and its VR efforts, reporting back with any further updates.