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Tech & Science

Blow for VR as BBC and Google cancel projects

There have been some promising innovations with virtual reality, in terms of gaming with systems like Oculus Rift S coming up high in polls; and in terms of education and learning, where the unique properties of VR are adding an extra dimension to learning and promoting empathic development. However, overall, either due to what the technology can actually deliver or perhaps due to a reluctance to don on a headset, the public rush to adopt VR has been slow. This is supported by Gartner expecting that it will take 5 to 10 years before these technologies reach a mature level.

This slow climb towards VR adoption on a larger scale is one reason why the BBC has disbanded the team it had put together in order to make virtual reality (VR) content. The world’s biggest media corporation has said that all funding has ended.

Explaining why, a BBC spokesperson clarified: “The VR Hub had funding for two years so is now wrapping up its production and commissioning. It’s been an important part of our charter commitment to promote technological innovation and maintain a leading role in research and development which benefits the whole industry.”

The BBC’s decision comes on the back of Google stopping sales of its Daydream View headsets. The technology giant has admitted that it does not see a future for smartphone-based VR. This is signaled by Google electing to omit Daydream support from the new Pixel 4 phone.

Quoted by The Verge, a Google spokesperson said: “We saw a lot of potential in smartphone VR — being able to use the smartphone you carry with you everywhere to power an immersive on-the-go experience. But over time we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution.”

Perhaps once volumetric video and 5G networks become more widespread and sales of new devices pick up, major companies will return to the VR concept and new products and services will emerge.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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