Google poised for virtual reality releases ‘in coming weeks’

24 Aug 2016

Google’s highly-anticipated virtual reality (VR) service Daydream is due for release pretty soon, with reports of major investments in multiple content variations hinting at a blockbuster launch.

Google has spent “a lot of money internally” on building up its VR content, apparently, with an Android app to support this new wave of entertainment due out next week.

Bloomberg claims hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent on films, programmes and other content for the upcoming Daydream service, with YouTubers like the Dolan Twins and Justine Ezarik already on board.

Future Human

virtual reality

The moves made by Google VR – the arm of Alphabet that will deal in this virtual world – are quite clever, with the VR ‘experience’ built into Android, so the company can capitalise on an already massive market.

Other VR operators are seeking ways to sell expensive headsets to host their content, though Google’s embracing of the smartphone – a market it already dominates – means Google Cardboard, a cheaper option, is possible.

This could prove important as, as yet, it’s pure speculation as to how popular VR will become. Predictions are quite grandiose, though, with a report earlier this month suggesting that it, combined with augmented reality (AR), will be an $160bn industry by the end of the decade.

This will initially be driven by VR systems, with viewers, software, consulting services and systems integration services set to dominate 2016 and 2017, before AR takes the lead.

Interestingly, Bloomberg suggests that Google’s investment is a calculated spread, with the company putting its fingers in as many pies as possible before it decides which tastes best.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg claims Google is spending high six figures on video games, and is offering from low five figures to low six figures for projects with filmmakers and online talent.

Daydream was first revealed a few months back at the Google I/O. This will be Google’s first true VR headset device, given that the Cardboard was very much sold as a VR project for people at home to put together themselves, or pay someone else to do it for them.

Main virtual reality image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic