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Google Decided To Nix Its Oculus Rift Competitor (recode.net) 50

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Recode: Google recently nixed an internal project to create a high-end standalone virtual-reality headset that would compete directly against the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, according to sources familiar with the plans. Google instead decided to shift more of its resources behind mobile VR and provide tools for other companies to build apps, games and services on Android-powered smartphones, rather than expensive hardware. In May, the company announced "Google Daydream," a platform that will help hardware and software developers create VR hardware, games, and experiences for its new Android Nougat operating system. Google did say they would be releasing their own VR headset, but it's mostly geared towards developers. A different VR project was started inside the Google X research lab, which is now a separate Alphabet company, with around 50 employees working on it, according to one source. That project was creating a separate operating system for the device, unique from Android. Now, it appears that the OS and project were scratched in favor of Android. The report suggests that Google is not as interested in competing directly with hardware from Facebook, Samsung, HTC and others. Apple has been recently granted another AR/VR patent, suggesting the company might be building a VR headset of its own.
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Google Decided To Nix Its Oculus Rift Competitor

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @09:32PM (#52522221)

    Rift vs Vive. Again two toys that most people don't know shit about, that are absolutely incompatible, that have pretty strong pushers behind them and no matter which one you choose, you'll be fucked 'cause invariably the other one will win.

    In other words, it's going to be the same shit as always: Nobody's going to buy 'cause everyone's waiting first to see which format will prevail, and until then the content will suck because no creator will bother dropping tons of money to create a AAA title for a tool that few people have in the first place and even fewer have because they can't decide.

    In other words hearing that Google is throwing in the towel is a GOOD thing.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      I see Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive more like nVidia vs ATI. I mean nVidia vs AMD.

      Question: How do you write a strikethrough on Slashdot? Nothing seems to be working.

    • They actually aren't incompatible. Vive seems to be working to make sure Rift games work on Vive (much to the annoyance of Facebook)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by not_surt ( 1293182 )

        You've got that backwards.
        Valve is making sure "Vive games" (SteamVR games) will work on the Rift.
        The community (primarily CrossVR) is making sure Rift games work on the Vive (via SteamVR).

  • In his most recent novel The Peripheral [amazon.com], about a near-future America, William Gibson also envisioned one's mobile phone eventually being usable a virtual-reality headset. Since so much functionality (bank cards, photography) is being integrated into the mobile phone, then it seems a safer bet for a company than trying to introduce awkward standalone hardware into the market.
  • Let everybody duke it out, then Google can put a bunch of their SW on the winning platform.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Friday July 15, 2016 @11:08PM (#52522551)

    The report suggests that Google is not as interested in competing directly with hardware from Facebook, Samsung, HTC and others

    The Oculus Rift (Facebook/Oculus), Vive (HTC/Valve), and Gear VR (Samsung/Oculus), aren't 'standalone'. The former two require a gaming PC to connect to, and the latter requires a high-end Samsung smartphone be connected. Google's scrapped project ran its own OS, meaning the processing was done inside the headset. There are cheap Chinese standalone 'VR' headsets, but they for the most part only run personal theater/3d video/slideshow software. A few companies are working on real standalone VR but I've heard nothing of their recent progress; Google could quickly make them irrelevant.

    I chuckle at the mention of deciding to use a smartphone rather than 'expensive hardware', as if a new $650 smartphone is cheap. Good luck doing VR on a smartphone that costs less than $300 (going price for a new unlocked Galaxy S6 on ebay, the minimum-specced phone that will work with a Gear VR). I shudder to think how many people are gonna get nauseous with their $99 phone that barely manages to run Android N.

    • as if a new $650 smartphone is cheap. Good luck doing VR on a smartphone that costs less than $300 (going price for a new unlocked Galaxy S6 on ebay, the minimum-specced phone that will work with a Gear VR). I shudder to think how many people are gonna get nauseous with their $99 phone that barely manages to run Android N.

      You're only considering the brands you know about.. That $650 smartphone is only $100 (or less) if you buy something like a DOOGEE or Xiaomi or similar..

      Samsung and Apple are doing a number on most westerners - $650 for a phone.. what a joke. Seriously, people who buy their junk at those prices deserve it :)

      • Yes obviously I want to get a cheaper phone running a non-Android variant OS laden with Chinese Gov't mandated back doors. That makes perfect sense over a proven brand.

    • I can do it on my ZTE Axon, and that was $350 when I bought it. The problem I have now is with the so-so third-party programs for making it emulate an Oculus Rift (Vridge, etc), and the tilt sensors inevitable drift during usage.
    • The killer VR app, for the next few years at least, is going to be porn and other video. A $200 dollar phone will be able to pull this off with ease. Google has realized this and the next gen of VR capable android phones should provide a more than adequate experience.. Casual games should also be no problem. A fully realized, computer rendered VR experience that does not make one sick is still a ways off as a far as I can tell.

      I for one am more interested in AR and am waiting to sea what Magic Leap
      • It's all down to content.

        Driving games are here today. iRacing and AssetoCorsa both do mostly pukeless VR today. (the exception being very windy tracks like 'hill climb' in AC)

        Fixed wing flying is OK. No puking.

        But Descent? I don't think anybody involved with the decision to make a new Descent work in VR ever played Descent 2 on the VR headsets of the 90s. If they had they would have known just how bad an idea it is.

        VR games have to leave up mostly up or the disconnect between inner ear and eyes ma

    • I chuckle at the mention of deciding to use a smartphone rather than 'expensive hardware', as if a new $650 smartphone is cheap.

      If you're already going to buy a cellphone, then spending another $300 on the phone isn't that arduous for that capability. What I'd like, though, is just a way to use a medium-priced phone as a VR headset for my PC. I'd prefer it to work wirelessly. I don't mind dedicating a wireless card to the purpose. I have a moderately powerful PC which can do the lifting. I just don't want to have to spend all this money on a VR headset which isn't going to do anything else for me.

      • Sony phones are already setup to be remote screens for PS4s, allowing you to hook up a controller and play your PS4 games on the go.

        Won't have the frame rate for VR, but it's close.

  • by bayankaran ( 446245 ) on Saturday July 16, 2016 @01:45AM (#52522975) Homepage
    I feel Occulus Rift - and VR in general - is today's Segway. Loads of hype.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr

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