If you find virtual-reality gaming offputting, perhaps immersive video may be more up your alley—and Samsung could have just the thing. CNET reports that the Galaxy devices maker launched the new Milk VR video service for Gear VR headsets on Tuesday.
Taking its name from Samsung’s other music and video services, Milk VR offers full-motion, 360-degree videos specifically for its Oculus-powered Gear VR virtual-reality goggles.
The idea is to use videos to broaden the appeal of virtual-reality technology, hopefully spurring adoption even for people who can’t stomach VR first-person shooters or other games. (At least with entertainment, you can look around at your leisure, without casting an eye over your virtual shoulder for a baddie who’s chasing you down.)
Creatively, the videos can also give interested filmmakers inspiration for how they can work with VR for storytelling. Samsung wants to flesh out its VR offerings, so it hopes others will follow suit and create more videos.
Hoping For A Virtual Success
The impossible-to-miss subtext, however, is that Samsung’s faltering smartphone sales have prompted the South Korean company to double down on its other initiatives, which includes launching the Gear VR Innovator’s Edition earlier this month.
It’s not the only one gung-ho about popularizing VR. Google, with its homespun (and cheap) Cardboard goggles, also seems intent on turning virtual reality into a hit in actual reality. The search giant just gave the “is it a joke?” Cardboard project a rather serious software development kit. Then it imbued its Google Maps application with VR-friendly Street Views, to give users something else to feast their eyeballs on.
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The Milk VR service makes videos available via downloads or through streaming. You’ll need a Galaxy Note 4 ($700 without a contract) and the Gear VR headset ($200). CNET notes that Milk VR shows up as an “app that can be downloaded from the VR home screen.”
It’s not a polished or robust service yet, so don’t expect a burgeoning selection. But Samsung reportedly plans to keep adding titles to the free videos in its app on an ongoing basis, to tempt users to come back for more.
Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite; screenshot of Samsung Unpacked by ReadWrite