Google backs away from Daydream VR due to a general lack of interest

The next Google Pixel phone won’t support the company’s shortlived VR platform, and sales of the phone-driven VR headset have already ceased.

Google is quietly winding down support for its Daydream VR platform, a phone-powered virtual reality offering launched in 2016.

It’s not a full shutdown, however. At least, not yet. Speaking to Variety, Google confirmed that the latest version of its Pixel smartphone line, the Pixel 4, won’t support Daydream VR, much like the slimmed-down Pixel 3a launched earlier this year.

Sale of the physical Daydream View headsets has ended as well, though Google will continue to support the Daydream app and its store for those with supported devices.

“There 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,” a Google spokesperson told Variety. That spokesperson goes on to explain in Variety’s full writeup that limitations have kept smartphone-powered VR from being a “viable long-term solution,” despite the setup’s potential.

It’s a similar lesson to the one Oculus CTO John Carmack shared when reflecting on the phone-powered Gear VR last month. For the Gear VR, Carmack recalled issues with phones overheating in the headset, and noted that players were reluctant to drain the battery of their phones to spend a few hours in VR. Google encountered similar issues surrounding VR users’ reluctance to sacrifice access to their smartphones for Daydream.

While Oculus used that knowledge to improve its other VR hardware offerings, Google is instead pivoting toward more AR-based tech and services.

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