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Amazon wading into virtual reality with its own video experiences

UploadVR found the listing on recruitment site Glassdoor. Amazon is currently looking for a talented virtual reality software development manager “to lead our Virtual Reality team.” As if that isn’t enough confirmation that the company is secretly developing VR products, the listing continues “This team is responsible for building the Virtual Reality experience within Amazon Video.”
The implication is that future versions of Amazon Video will include built-in support for virtual reality headsets and 360-degree immersive content. Amazon’s involvement in the field shouldn’t come as a surprise as the entire entertainment industry is currently investigating the potential of the emerging technology.
Key Amazon rival Netflix has already begun its own investigation into how virtual reality could expand its business. The company has created a virtual reality app that lets Samsung Gear VR owners watch video from within a virtual living room. Hulu, another media streaming giant, is also building a similar feature for launch in the next few weeks.
The job listing suggests Amazon is working on something bigger though, creating a project more ambitious than a mere virtual theatre. “Entertainment is evolving rapidly,” the company begins. “The future will not be limited to passive 2D experiences. The Virtual Reality team will explore and create the platform and interface for immersive storytelling. This will include an ingestion and playback platform for Virtual Reality experiences.”
The passage hints at the development of a virtual reality platform dedicated to hosting interactive VR content that takes video beyond the televisions and cinemas of today. The reference to “storytelling” and dismissal of “passive” experiences suggests the company is building a user-centric system that will see the headset wearer participate in the video onscreen. It’s all speculation for now but the listing’s detailed description provides a good general overview of Amazon’s VR plans.
In the future, Amazon could use virtual reality to transform how users experience elements of its core business. The company could let customers wander through the aisles of a virtual store, the shelves stocked with products tailored to the user’s regular purchases. It looks as though it will be exploring VR in a more conventional sense to begin with but the technology could do much more than create next-generation entertainment.
The Amazon Video integration won’t be the company’s first VR product. Last month, it announced Lumberyard, a free game engine that developers can use to build cross-platform socially integrated virtual reality games. Titles built in Lumberyard will be playable on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows 10 and VR headsets, empowering the creator to work on content such as graphics than sound rather than the code required to get a game running on devices like the Oculus Rift.

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