The failure of Google Daydream VR, the first virtual reality viewer, presented by Google during the October 2016 Google Event is no longer a mystery. In that occasion, the web giant presented several products, including the Google Pixel, a new generation of smartphones whose main strength is the camera. But let’s talk about Google Daydream!
Google Daydream is the environment developed by Google to collect all the applications and video games produced specifically for its VR viewer, the Google Daydream View. In the past, Google launched a low-cost VR viewer, the Google Cardboard, made of cardboard and equipped with a space in which each user could insert the smartphone, as long as it is compatible with a virtual reality system.
By Google Daydream, the web giant stepped forward: it created a platform to host useful applications developed specifically for Google Daydream View, a VR viewer with an excellent value for money (around 50-100 euros). The viewer is easy to wear and even 30% lighter than those of competitors. To use it, it is necessary to download the Daydream application from Google store, as it was created specifically to exploit the services of the platform.
At the beginning, its captivating design and its small size made it an appreciated tool. However, in October 2019, about 3 years after its launch, Google announced the termination of sales of the device, due to the decreasing usage over time and the poor popularity obtained, and it removed the product from Google Play. Google Daydream adds to other failures of Google, together with the huge disappointment given by Google Lens in Augmented Reality field.
Someone jokes about these failures, for example it was created the Google graveyard.
THE MARKET RESPONSE
Virtual reality, especially in gaming format, through thick and thin, continues to occupy a large space in the common imagination, but it has limited space on a commercial level. However, this ecosystem is much more complex than expected both from technological and commercial point of view.
The market response, in fact, was not the one hoped for. Many criticise the isolation experience that VR creates. Many users have encountered several problems, such as nausea and headaches. This is the reason why companies that develop virtual reality viewers continue to study and research the most suitable materials to make the device lighter and less invasive.
In 2016, virtual reality reached a total of 2.7 billion dollars, against the expected 3.8. Instead, Augmented Reality recorded better performances with a total of 1.2 billion dollars, twice the expectations. According to data released by TechCrunch, by 2021 Augmented Reality will become the primary driver of a 108 billion dollars market, divided into 83 billion for augmented reality and 25 for virtual reality. What is the reason for this huge difference? Probably to the costs. Despite all the investments made, the virtual reality sector did not give the expected results and the videogames sector seems to be the only beneficiary.
ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE IS STADIA
In the field of video games, Google is collecting complex artificial intelligence algorithms and a special technology called “negative latency“, which should create a predictive buffer and it should lower the response time of the server after receiving the command by the player.
It means that Google could succeed through a strong use of computing power, associated with artificial intelligence, to anticipate the player’s moves. The official launch date is scheduled for November 19th, also in Europe.
As Phil Harrison, Google vice president, stated: “For two years, digital has represented, on a global scale, the most consistent part of the videogame market. In Europe the transition took place recently, in the last six months. In all countries the transition begins gradually, reaches a point of no return and then accelerates. There is no sector that, once this step was reached, decided to return to the physical formats. It seems to me a clear indication of where we are going “.
To use Stadia just press a button on the joypad and the video games will be streamed on the screen. What are the negative factors? At the beginning the only smartphone supported will be the models of the Pixel line. Games must be purchased singularly. Only the premium version will increase the screen resolution in 4K and allow users to access a list of free tutorials. Someone finds it hard to trust, given Google’s constant habit of streamlining its active services.
FACEBOOK AND ITS SOCIAL HUB VR
While Google slackens off in the field of virtual reality, on the other hand Facebook launches itself, envisaging the development of a social hub in collaboration with the American technological company Oculus VR.
It is an experience no longer personal but shared: Zuckerberg stated that he wants to expand the concept of VR by pushing people to interact during the use of the viewers. The new Oculus Touch controllers will be released December 6th 2019, at the price of $ 199. They will enable the interaction not only with objects in virtual reality, but also with objects that are outside of it.
Mark Zuckerberg tested the product personally, during the experimentation phase. He ventured on a journey from the ocean and to Mars, together with two avatars. He also received a call by his wife via Facebook Messenger and he visited his dog while he was away from home.
The device appears as a normal viewer. It is equipped with a positional tracking technology that allows the device to understand at any moment where exactly the user is inside the room, and consequently to modify the contents shown in virtual reality. This innovative product is called Facebook Horizon, its debut is expected at the beginning of 2020 by a closed beta phase. It will be possible to draw their own avatar and participate in collective activities. Will it suffer the same fate as Google Daydream? We shall see!