Google’s first step toward making high-quality mobile VR mainstream is coming soon.
The Daydream View virtual reality headset, which works by holding phones that meet the Daydream standard up to your face, launches November 10. Google published a blog today reiterating some of the major points about the wearable device that turns Google Pixel phones (and other future handsets) into head-mounted displays. View is $70, and Google made it with a cloth that it claims is comfortable and breathable. It will go on sale at Verizon stores and Best Buy in the United States, and it comes with a motion-controlled wand device that enables you to bring one hand into simulations. VR could generate as much as $40 billion in revenues by 2020, according to analysts with research firm SuperData. And mobile VR is one of the major pillars of that forecast.
Like the competing Samsung Gear VR headset, which holds Galaxy phones, Daydream View does not have its own screen. But the View branches off from the Gear VR by also dropping any of its own sensors. Instead, Daydream-compliant phones must all have the required hardware built right into them. This is one of the reasons the headset is so inexpensive and yet still comes with a controller.
The View is also a successor to Google’s simple Cardboard holster, which was a cheap solution for experiencing VR on a phone. But since both Cardboard and Daydream run on top of Android, the Google Play Market will have a large number of virtual reality apps ready to go on November 10. This puts Android in a battle with Valve’s Steam PC-gaming platform and Oculus’s store for the top portal for discovering and purchasing VR apps and experiences.
At the same time, Daydream gives game studios another opportunity to launch alongside exciting new hardware because Google will introduce a Daydream-only section of its Play market. This is for games that support all of the features of the new standard, including compatibility with the motion controller. Warner Bros., for example, is planning to release a game to promote its Harry Potter-spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Developer nDreams is another one of the companies capitalizing on this launch. Its Danger Goat game is a third-person puzzler that has players guiding an intergalactic goat back to his spaceship using the Daydream View. The studio has previously launched VR games, like Gunner and The Assembly, for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Gear VR, and now it’s also bringing its support to Google’s official VR platform.
With Daydream, Google joins Samsung, Facebook (Oculus), Valve, HTC, and Microsoft in fully pursuing the VR market. That has not yet generated much of a profit, but it shows that each company thinks that some form of VR or AR will turn into a massive market. It is also evidence that all of those companies don’t want to give an early lead to Apple like they did with the iPhone and iPad.