Oculus has now officially announced the availability of YouTube VR on the standalone Oculus Go platform. You'll get the full YouTube experience on Oculus Go, including the ability to sign in and all of the perks that come with it. Like the Daydream version, you can use controllers and other input methods to type text in VR to search videos, leave comments and more, or you can use voice controls. You can also jump into videos in a live shared space with other viewers, even for videos that aren't live. The app is fully compatible with the wide range of 360-degree and 180-degree VR content found on YouTube, and is currently free in the Oculus store.
Background: When you open up the app, you'll be greeted by a hub screen that bears a few suggestions, categories, and portals to other parts of the app like the Account screen. From there, you can search for a video, pick one to watch from the main screen, or hop over to your subscriptions or other areas. There's also a dedicated hub just for 360 degree videos, where you can find all sorts of VR-friendly content. When you fire up a 360 degree video on Oculus Go, you'll be plopped right in the middle of it. For compatible videos, spatial audio is also available. 2D videos, meanwhile, will put a plane in front of you with the video playing on it, and you can look around as you wish. Spatial audio is present here, too; the video screen is the audio source, and looking away from it will change how it sounds. You can also perform most account management features right inside the app. Essentially, the only missing feature from the PC version of YouTube is the ability to upload videos and go live.
Impact: With the addition of YouTube VR, Oculus Go has become a full and robust standalone VR platform that has most use cases for the average VR consumer on board. There have been tons of media apps for the fledgling VR platform ever since its 2017 release, and the fairly powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor ensures that it will continue getting new games, apps and experiences for quite some time. Oculus Go is part of a growing movement toward premium experiences in compact, wire-free packages that come to consumers at prices that represent a fraction of what it would take to get similar experiences from PC-based VR. The dedicated hardware and software suite, meanwhile, allows better experiences than one would typically find on smartphone-based VR systems like Google's Daydream platform and Samsung's own Oculus-powered Gear VR. It was the first of its kind, and is to this day one of the easiest of its type to develop for, making it a popular target for app and game makers eager to get their creations in front of a wide audience. Now that it serves as a fully viable alternative to upgrading for consumers who may love their older phone or not want to pay a premium to upgrade, it's likely to become even more popular.