Youtube has reinforced its commitment to VR by announcing their new virtual reality format – VR 180 at VidCon. The new VR format, along with its cameras will reportedly allow users to capture only what’s directly in front of them, instead of a complete 360-degree experience.
Perhaps the biggest problem faced by VR today is the high cost associated with it, both on the consumer and creator side. Most small and mid-size creators can’t justify the high cost associated with producing VR content, with cameras alone costing thousands of dollars. On the other end of the spectrum, consumers can’t justify the high cost of entry for VR, especially since there is a lack of quality VR content. It is a troubling Catch 22 situation.
Youtube is attempting to solve one part of this problem by making VR content cheaper and easier to produce for creators. Youtube is the largest user-produced video streaming platform in the world, with 1.5 billion logged in viewers in one month alone. As such, it is uniquely situated to promote and propagate both, VR content creation and consumption and push VR as an easily accessible mainstream offering.
Youtube is even working with companies such as LG, Yi and Lenovo to manufacture new VR180 cameras, which will reportedly cost in the region of ~$200. This would no doubt boost the popularity of VR on Youtube and lead to an explosion of new VR180 content on the platform. The cherry on top of the cake for content producers is that the new format is already supported by many popular content creation tools. This makes the content production easier, without the need for new technical skills and editing techniques.
Of course, as with so many new technologies today, the future of VR is intrinsically tied to mobile. In fact, the only VR headset that has managed to gain any real traction so far is the Samsung Gear mobile VR headset. Youtube has an immense presence on the mobile platform, with users spending 1+ hours watching Youtube on mobile devices alone. Together, mobile VR and Youtube could become a very potent combination.
Recently, we at Dazeinfo reported about Samsung’s new Odyssey mobile VR headset, which aims to avoid many of the traditional pitfalls of VR and features a crazy sharp display. This will apparently solve many health issues that are currently plaguing VR. The combined efforts of Samsung and Youtube to make VR safer to use and cheaper to produce may be enough to breathe life back into an underperforming industry.