Sony added support for 360-degree YouTube videos to the PlayStation VR headset, the company announced on Thursday. Sony's first commercial virtual reality headset is now compatible with a broad range of 360 videos currently hosted by the Google-owned YouTube. This new feature was pushed out as a PSVR update that users worldwide can download as of yesterday. Sony's announcement marks another step in the company's long-term strategy to turn PlayStation VR into a versatile entertainment accessory that isn't only used for gaming.
Sony already started experimenting with 360-degree YouTube videos support back in December when a small number of PlayStation VR owners received an update allowing them to start watching 360-degree content on YouTube. However, the experimental version of the update capped all YouTube content to 1080p and had to stretch the image to make full use of PlayStation VR's field of view spanning 100 degrees. Due to that, users who were a part of the test reported that the initial version of the service wasn't terribly enjoyable. The official service reportedly performs better in this regard, though it's still limited to 2D virtual reality content, which some PlayStation VR owners weren't thrilled with as they took to the official PlayStation Blog to voice their displeasure about content that's lacking "real depth."
PlayStation VR initially hit the market in October and was heavily advertised as the cheapest option for enjoying premium VR experiences. As its name suggests, the headset only works with PlayStation 4, though Sony previously implied it might consider official PC support in the future. The multinational entertainment company is still hard at work pushing out exclusive PlayStation VR games, hoping it will manage to create a few system sellers along the way. However, while the headset was primarily designed as a gaming accessory, Sony is also trying to promote it as a versatile entertainment gadget. The company has a long history of adopting similar marketing strategies for its hardware products like the last few generations of the PlayStation console. Features like support for 360 YouTube videos are an important part of that approach, which is why more similar functionalities will likely debut in the near future.