Google and YouTube have today announced the introduction of a new VR180 platform. As the name suggests, this is a platform that looks to pick up on the advance of virtual reality. Although this particular version of VR is not actually VR. Instead of offering a completely immersive experience with full a 360-degree field of view, VR180 looks to offer a stripped-down 180-degree viewing experience. Essentially, an immersive experience for everything that you see in front and to the sides.
Which is largely the fundamental difference between VR180 and true VR. As this method works on the basis of stretching content so that it appears to occupy the viewer's entire field of vision, and just beyond. Requiring the user to turn their head to the left or the right to fully soak up the entirety of the scene. In many ways, VR180 is designed to be a ‘light’ version of VR and offer up a like-experience, but without many of the technical and financial issues associated with VR. For instance, it is not as demanding as a true VR experience, and therefore will require less capable hardware to view content. Likewise, VR180 will also result in an easier way for VR-like content to be created and uploaded to YouTube. As part of the announcement, YouTube stated that its team partnered with the Google Daydream team to create the new format. Adding that VR180 is a format that will be accessible by a wide array of compatible devices, including the likes of Cardboard, Daydream, and PSVR.
On the creator side of things, the announcement does explain that content creators will be able to make VR180 videos just like they would any other video, and soon will also be able to edit and process the videos in much the same way – like for instance via Adobe Premiere Pro. In addition, the creation of VR180 content will also be aided by the arrival of some new hardware. As the announcement confirms that the Daydream team has been working with a number of third-party manufacturers to bring to market cameras that are specifically designed to take advantage of and create VR180 content. One of the obvious benefits of these cameras is that they will make it easier for anyone (professional YouTuber or otherwise) to create and upload their own VR180 content to YouTube. At the moment the details on these new hardware options is fairly limited, but YouTube has confirmed that the first VR180 cameras will come from YI, Lenovo, and LG, and will be priced similar to standard point-and-shoot cameras. According to the announcement, the expected arrival time for the first wave of VR180 cameras will be “this winter.”