Google has officially put an end to its VR ambitions, announcing that it has ended support for Daydream VR software, and as of Android 11, its mobile OS is not guaranteed to work with the headset.
This official end of support comes four years after the mobile-powered Daydream View VR headset launched, but it is really the final nail in the coffin, as Google has been winding down support for some time now. Back in October last year, Google announced that it was ending sales for the headsets. That news followed the revelation that the then-newly announced Pixel 4 Smartphone would not support the VR platform, suggesting that Google had long since lost interest in its VR ambitions.
Third-party experiences that use Daydream could still be available via Google Play, as Google does not expect its drop of support for the platform will affect functionality. This content will still be accessible via a compatible viewer and controller, including the Daydream VR.
In an interview with Variety last October, Google blamed a lack of consumer and developer adoption for their decision to move away from VR:
There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset,” said a company spokesperson. “So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users.”
Additionally, the spokesperson pointed to an inherent flaw in mobile-based VR.
“We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR—being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.”