Google unveiled its new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones at a press event in New York, Tuesday, and revealed that its Daydream VR platform is no longer supported by its flagship phones. The move effectively kills off the $99 VR platform that launched in Nov. 2016.
While the Daydream app and store will continue to function for now, the company stopped selling the headsets as of yesterday and any mention of Daydream has disappeared from the Google Store.
The company explained the move in a statement circulated amongst the press.
“We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR – being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution. Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.
“There also hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset. So while we are no longer selling Daydream View or supporting Daydream on Pixel 4, the Daydream app and store will remain available for existing users.
The company added that it is shifting its focus to “helpful AR experiences like Google Lens, AR walking navigation in Maps, and AR in Search that use the smartphone camera to bridge the digital and physical worlds, helping people do more with what they see and learn about the world around them.”
Overall, the industry has been moving toward stand-alone VR headsets that don’t tie up your cell phone or use up precious battery power. However, as a stepping stone to bigger things, Daydream helped introduce a lot of people to VR at an affordable price. The original version sold for $79, while the 2017 second-generation version cost $99. Many of those customers will now be willing to pay a bit more for some of the more advanced platforms on the market ranging from $250-$600.