Google Drops Development on Oculus Rift Competitor

Plans to Focus on Mobile VR Platform

Google’s announcement to drop work on creating a competitor to Oculus Rift and shift to Daydream, its mobile VR platform, comes as little surprise with developments in mobile VR and augmented reality. Of course, it fits a general Google pattern of creating products to test whether they are smart moves, and then adjusting to current realities. (This is why Google+ is effectively used as a back-end into other Google services that are more popular, such as Youtube. Anyone remember Orkut?)

What this move does tell us is that Google is moving towards VR technologies that are more tested, and may be waiting for a little more market saturation in the stand-alone VR industry than there currently is. Google is very good at placing itself in the middle once a market fills out a bit, so it is no surprise that this move is occurring.

Mobile VR and augmented reality is growing very quickly, and the success of Google’s cardboard project shows that the company’s focus will be on much cheaper technologies that move into the public sphere more quickly. In that sense, Google’s move makes the most sense in terms of moving from VR’s high-end to the low-end, where the public is more accessible.

Verdict: Google’s shift, when looked at the amount of investment being placed in VR, at first makes little sense. Why? It’s not like an augmented reality application has suddenly overtaken millions of users who are now using their mobiles to do things in a virtual parallel reality like catching Pokemon… oh, wait. Still, development on headset-based VR gaming is still in its infancy. Don’t be surprised to see Google jumping into the VR space with an acquisition as opposed to a competing product.