On Tuesday, Google’s virtual reality headset, Google Daydream, announced a new set of applications available on the VR platform. The announcement, which was posted on the company’s website, revealed the launch of HBO Now, Lego games, NextVR and several other virtual reality applications. Google also announced Netflix will soon become available on the Daydream platform.
The HBO NOW app now allows HBO subscribers to watch movies and original TV shows in virtual reality. However, at the moment the video quality is not full-immersive 3-D virtual reality. But, HBO could be working on creating and developing VR content specifically for the growing virtual reality audience.
In addition to HBO NOW, Google’s Daydream released several new games including: Lego BrickHeadz Builder VR, Gunjack 2: End of Shift, Wands, Underworld Overlord, Layers of Fear: Solitude.
Google’s VR platform for Android is currently available on the Pixel phone but, many other phone manufacturers are expected to build upon Google’s virtual reality platform.
Outside of Google’s VR platform include Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC which announced on Tuesday the release of the Oculus Touch – a $199 package that includes controllers and a tracking camera that works alongside the $599 Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Touch controllers track the movements of a user’s hands along with providing buttons to increase interactivity. In fact, the sensors within the Oculus Touch allow for the computer to determine if a user is making hand movements such as pointing, shaking or even waving. Features that are not available on other major VR products. In addition, Oculus features well over 50 games. Far more than Google’s Daydream.
The biggest difference between Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Google’s Daydream, is that the Daydream View headset is not dependent upon computers or a specific manufacturer and the fact that the Daydream headset can be used by compatible smartphones making it cheaper than Facebook’s $599 VR headset.
Popularity for VR has grown substantially. According to reports, the number of search queries regarding VR has increased by nearly 400% percent in the past 12 months. In addition, a 2015 study by the Ericsson Consumerlab found that shopping was the main reason why smartphone users were interested in virtual reality; 64 percent said “seeing items in real size and form when shopping online” is the main reason for being interested in virtual reality.