Facebook subsidiary Oculus VR has announced a partnership with Amazon to bring additional content to the portable Oculus virtual reality headsets: Amazon Prime Video VR.
While the current generation of virtual reality headsets - both tethered, like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, and standalone, like the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest - continue to draw interest, content can be thin on the ground. The majority of modern games still launch without official virtual reality support, and most media streaming platforms operate only using unofficial third-party pass-through software. Things aren't helped by companies finding it difficult to make a profit from content: Despite having Facebook's considerable financial resources to draw upon, Oculus VR closed its in-house content division back in May 2017 in favour of 'funding and supporting' external content creators instead.
Now, Oculus VR has announced a partnership with Amazon that will bring the company's Prime Video streaming platform to the Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, and Oculus VR-powered Samsung Gear VR platforms.
The bulk of Amazon Prime Video content, some of which is made available at no cost to those paying an Amazon Prime membership while some of which is available to rent or purchase, is presented through the software in a virtual theatre mode - represented in a colourful cardboard environment with a floating screen. To ease the pain of entering text for search functionality using wand controllers, voice search is enabled by default.
A handful of VR-specific videos, though, will be made available in interactive 3D, Oculus VR has promised - but, sadly, this will be limited to just ten videos at launch, and will only be accessible by Prime members. Those without an Amazon Prime membership will find the VR videos locked away, without even the option to buy or rent them.
Full details on the new Amazon Prime Video VR application, which is available in the US and UK now, can be found on the Oculus VR blog.
February 24 2020 | 12:00