Google is notorious for killing off projects and products. Sometimes the move makes sense, sometimes they break hearts and dreams. One of those dreams involved a VR experience untethered to any computer and powered by the computer that’s almost always with you anyway. That Daydream, unfortunately, would die a quiet and early death, and what was made official last year is now made more real with Google shutting down its servers and VR Play Store, significantly limiting what Daydream VR owners can with their headsets.
To be fair, it was probably not surprising that Daydream would eventually be shuttered. It was a novel idea when it first came out, using your smartphone not only for computing power but also for the display. It drastically reduced the need for some components and even enabled the use of foldable and portable headsets, even ones made out of cardboard.
It wasn’t scalable, however, to more sophisticated VR applications, not to mention the weight it placed on the wearer’s head. It could have probably improved but, like many of Google’s endeavors, it didn’t get any solid backing from the company enough to assure developers and users to invest in the platform. Then again, even with backing, Google still sometimes pulls the plug on projects, like the Stadia game studio.
By October last year, Google practically pulled the plug on Daydream VR by not supporting it on Android 11. Now it seems that Google has also shut down its servers related to Daydream VR, particularly those needed to run the VR Play Store. In other words, users will no longer be able to connect to that store, let alone download VR apps from there.
That said, Daydream VR headsets will continue working as long as there are still apps that run on them. Those apps might become available through third-party stores, with the usual security risks, but it might only be a matter of time before those, too, disappear from lack of use.