Over the past few years, Samsung’s Gear VR headsets have been pretty prominent in the virtual reality space. The Korean company even offered their VR headsets together with select Galaxy flagship smartphones in the past, although recent devices like the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Note 10 didn’t have support for Gear VR.
However, Samsung is now phasing out support for its XR and VR video clients, with 360-degree video and premium videos now unavailable on the XR app. Additionally, the company has halted updates for all video clients under the Samsung XR and VR name.
This appears to be a continued rollback of services from Samsung with regards to its VR and XR services. Back in 2019, the company also removed the Samsung Gear VR from its official online store, with consumers apparently preferring standalone VR headsets over Samsung’s plug-your-phone-in headsets.
As a result, the company is now terminating the Samsung XR service completely. Users accounts with Samsung’s XR service will be deleted by September 2020, while videos that have already been uploaded will be removed.
The Samsung XR mobile apps on iOS and Android will also be removed by the deadline, and the company is cutting off support for the Samsung Gear VR’s app as well. This also means that the VR Video app will disappear from Oculus and Microsoft Mixed Reality platforms.
According to an official statement from the company, the termination of Samsung XR is intrisically tied to the (un)availability of Gear VR:
“Samsung is rethinking its immersive video distribution service, especially given that Gear VR is no longer available. We remain engaged with the ecosystem, exploring the potential of mobile AR and volumetric technologies.”
Samsung’s move appears to signify the continued shift of VR towards standalone headsets such as the Occulus Quest. Previously, Google also cancelled its Daydream View VR headsets—in fact, the Pixel 4 series doesn’t even support the headset by default.
To read Samsung’s full statement, click here.