Samsung is killing off its XR services. The company has announced the plan to gradually shut down its XR service applications across web, mobile, and headset platforms over the next few months. The service will terminate entirely on September 30, 2020.
Effective immediately, users won't be able to upload 360-degree videos on Samsung XR. Samsung has also suspended premium video purchases. Previously purchased premium videos will be accessible until September 30 this year.
Samsung XR and Samsung VR Video clients will no longer receive updates. Creator Portal Analytics has also been discontinued effective May 11. Users will no longer be able to access video data and analytics on the app.
Starting on June 30, the Samsung VR Video app will stop working on Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, or Oculus Quest headsets. The app will also be no longer available from the Oculus store.
Finally, Samsung will lift support for the app on Gear VR, Windows Odyssey, and Android devices by the end of September 2020. The app will be subsequently removed from the Microsoft Mixed Reality store, the Galaxy Store, and the Google Play Store.
Samsung will also disable and remove all Samsung XR accounts on September 30. All published videos and related account information will be permanently deleted from the Samsung XR service.
Samsung to shut down its XR services
Samsung says it's ending the XR service because it's "rethinking" the immersive video distribution service, "especially given that Gear VR is no longer available". The company will remain "engaged with the ecosystem, exploring the potential of mobile AR and volumetric technologies."
The South Korean giant was among the firsts to invest in the VR and VR headsets segment. The company even used to offer Gear VR headsets with its Galaxy flagships. However, the phone-based XR ecosystem never really took off and its demise seemed inevitable last year when Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 10 series without the ability to support Gear VR headsets.
Then in October 2019, it discontinued the Gear VR headset. The company has now dealt the final blow as it is killing off the services around it.
Oculus also killed its VR apps for the Gear VR a couple of months ago. The Facebook-owned company's CTO had called Gear VR "a missed opportunity" last year.
Although Samsung sold over 5 million Gear VR headsets, the phone-based VR headset couldn't stand competitively against standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.
The company says it will keep exploring opportunities. It'll be interesting to see how those opportunities shape up in the future.