Samsung is killing off its XR service and VR Video apps
Samsung has been a dominant player in the mobile VR space thanks to the Samsung Gear VR, which was made in collaboration with Oculus VR — the makers of the popular standalone VR headset Oculus Rift. The company was known for offering Gear VR headsets with its previous Samsung Galaxy flagships, but that ended with the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+ that launched in August last year, as both devices were incompatible with Gear VR. Then in October 2019, the company pulled the Gear VR from its online store and it was no longer available on Amazon or Best Buy in the U.S. Now, according to a recent report from CNET, Samsung is killing off its XR service and VR video apps.
The report cites an update on the Samsung XR website which states that “Samsung XR is ending service for its XR applications across web, mobile, and headset platforms. The service will terminate on September 30, 2020.” This revelation follows Oculus CTO John Carmack’s recent remark in which he essentially admitted that Gear VR is dead. Even though the company sold over 5 million Gear VR headsets by January 2017, it was quite evident that phone-based VR wasn’t taking off as many users found it inconvenient to put their phone into a headset and then take it out. Instead, standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest have exploded in popularity.
It’s worth noting that last month, Facebook-owned Oculus killed software updates for Gear VR and they also discontinued access to films and the Oculus Video and Oculus 360° Photos apps. The company also stopped updating the Oculus Browser and announced plans to disallow developers to support Gear VR on new apps released to the Oculus Store after September 15. Interestingly, the Oculus SDK had already dropped support for Gear VR in December last year and it was followed by the Unity engine deprecating support in January this year.
Samsung has detailed a plan to gradually phase out its XR service and VR apps over the next few months. As per the plan, 360° video uploads have already been made unavailable, premium video purchases have been suspended, and updates for Samsung XR and Samsung VR Video clients have been shelved. By June 30, 2020, the Samsung VR Video app will no longer be supported on the Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, or Oculus Quest headsets and will be removed from the Oculus Store. And finally, by September 30, 2020, all Samsung XR user accounts will be disabled and removed, all user account information and associated data will be permanently deleted, all published videos will be removed from the Samsung XR services, the Samsung VR Video app will no longer be supported on Samsung Gear VR or Windows Odyssey, and the Samsung XR mobile app will no longer be supported on Android devices.
Source: Samsung XR