Virtual reality news has more or less quieted down over the past months but that doesn’t mean it’s far from gone. While its application in other industries have yet to be realized, it continues to grow, albeit slowly, in its native entertainment market. In fact, Amazon has finally made its long-expected foray into VR and it’s coming to Oculus’ mobile platforms, including the Gear VR.
Video is, admittedly, one of the places where VR makes the most sense, at least next to games. Despite the 360-degree view, traditional videos will have to be viewed in 2D, usually on a VR screen that’s made to look like a cinema.
Amazon will deliver both kinds of experiences. Users can view their video libraries in a makeshift cinema without the popcorn. Even non-Prime subscribers can use the app to play their personal library in the same setting.
Subscribers, however, have access to 360-degree videos created specifically for this new VR experience. At launch, that roster is made up of 10 handpicked experiences, including the whimsical INAVASION! and the documentary Greenland Meeting.
Amazon Prime Video VR is now available on the Oculus Store but with device limitations. It seems to be made only for the “untethered” headsets such as the Oculus Quest, the older Oculus Go, and the even older Samsung Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus.
Amazon is just the newest big name to jump onto the VR train that, at least to outsiders, seems to have slowed its run. Part of the reason for that, however, is the shifting of focus from consumer VR to pro VR with expensive equipment like the HTC Vive Cosmos. Device makers and platform developers are trying to push VR to enterprise and industry customers to paint the picture of a technology that isn’t just for entertainment but for serious applications as well. That, in turn, could deliver the much-needed profits that the industry needs to survive beyond VR games and 360-degree videos.