Google has essentially abandoned its Daydream virtual reality platform. The company confirmed to The Verge that the new Pixel 4 phone won’t support Daydream, and Google told Variety and The Verge that it will also no longer sell the Daydream View mobile headset. It will continue to support the app — which only works on older phones — for existing users.
“There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset,” a spokesperson said. Although the system had potential, “we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution,” said the spokesperson. “Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.” That echoes similar complaints about Daydream’s biggest competition, the Samsung Gear VR.
Google launched the Daydream View alongside the first Pixel phone in 2016, and several other phone makers — including Samsung — added support for it over the years. But Google’s midrange Pixel 3A wasn’t compatible with Daydream, and no phones released this year have supported it either. Google has made forays into releasing standalone virtual reality headsets with the Lenovo Mirage Solo, but it’s largely shifted its focus away from VR hardware, focusing on phone-based augmented reality and on VR apps like the painting tool Tilt Brush.