It looks like Google Daydream is dead. Google confirmed that the new Google Pixel 4 smartphones will not support the Daydream virtual reality platform, and will no longer sell the Daydream View headset.
“Over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
It’s kind of a fitting end for Google Daydream to die alongside the Pixel 4. Daydream was first launched as a platform alongside the original Pixel phone, and a number of smartphone manufacturers added support for it in the following years. That said, adoption seems to have been relatively slow, and no new phones this year officially support the platform — including the Pixel 3a that was released earlier in the year.
Of course, just because Daydream as a platform is on its way out, that doesn’t mean that virtual reality, in general, is a dying concept. Most major tech companies are investing a ton of cash into augmented reality tech, and much of that is mobile-based. Apple, for example, has been putting a ton of work into ARKit, a set of developer tools for implementing augmented reality experiences on the iPhone. Google’s version of that is ARCore. Most of these AR experiences involve using a phone, such as Wayfair’s app that allows you to see what its furniture would look like in your home.
Most of the top virtual reality experiences these days involve either connecting a headset to a high-performance computer for high-end games, or playing slightly lower-power games on stand-alone headsets like the Oculus Go. Virtual reality headsets may not have hit the mainstream the way that some companies, like Oculus, would have liked, but in certain niches like immersive gaming, there are some great apps on offer.
We’ll have to wait and see if Google makes another attempt at virtual reality at some point in the future. The company is no stranger to killing apps and platforms and trying again later, as it has done time and time again when it comes to messaging.