Google’s YouTube VR app arrives on the $199 Oculus Go, bringing by far the largest library of VR content on the web to Facebook’s entry-level VR device.
YouTube brings plenty of new content in conventional and more immersive video types. It’s no doubt, the biggest single hub of 360 content and native formats like VR180, though offering access to the library at large is probably far more important to the Oculus platform.
One of the interesting things about this Oculus’s strategy with the Go headset is that gaming turned out to be the minority use case following media consumption. If you find it difficult to believe that so many people are out there binging on 360 videos, it’s because they most likely aren’t. Users have sort of co-opted the device’s capabilities to turn it into a conventional movie and TV viewing device, there are apps from Netflix while Facebook has also built Oculus TV, a feature which is still in its infancy but basically offers an Apple TV-like experience for watching a lot of 2D content in a social environment.
At the company’s Oculus Connect conference this past year CTO John Carmack remarked how about 70 % of time spent by users on the Go have been watching videos with about 30 % of user time has gone to gaming. Oculus has positioned itself as a gaming company in many ways via their investments so they will be interesting to see how they grow their mobile platform to make the video aspect of its VR business more attractive.
With YouTube, the company has easy access to effortlessly bringing a bunch of content onboard, this would have been a great partner for Oculus TV, but a dedicated app brings a lot to users. It wasn’t very clear whether Google was going to play hardball with the YouTube app and keep standalone access confined to their Daydream platform, as the company’s homegrown VR ambitions seem to have grown more and more subdued, it looks like they’ve had some time to focus on external platforms.