NextVR’s eponymous VR video service by no means absolutely took off with customers, regardless of providing 360-degree video entry to pick live shows and sporting occasions, together with NBA video games, WWE wrestling matches, and NHL highlights. But Apple apparently noticed worth within the firm, and following weeks of hypothesis confirmed immediately (by way of Bloomberg) that it has acquired NextVR for functions unknown.
Based in Newport Beach, California, NextVR was an hour south of Los Angeles, the place lots of Apple’s TV+ operations are situated. While Apple isn’t confirming the precise causes for the deal, it’s fairly probably that the NextVR staff will develop into concerned with future TV+ initiatives, enabling Apple to broaden the breadth and/or literal depth of its video choices. Apple TV+ presently presents solely 2D movies, and no sporting or different dwell programming, although the corporate has been engaged on a combined actuality headset with an AR focus.
Mixed actuality streaming has develop into more and more essential throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing customers at residence the chance to take part in dwell occasions that they beforehand may need attended in individual. Many of NextVR’s streams got here from sporting occasions which have been postponed or cancelled as a consequence of coronavirus considerations, however the expertise will little question be helpful when future occasions are rescheduled — with or with out social distancing in place.
NextVR’s platform used VR to supply entrance row entry to dwell occasions, counting on 360-degree cameras to let customers transfer round a small space of 3D area with six levels of freedom. While utilizing a VR headset, the sensation of “presence” on the occasions distinguished the corporate’s panoramic, stereoscopic 3D streams from standard 2D video, although the corporate additionally supplied 2D smartphone entry to get its viewership numbers up. NextVR additionally deliberate to help AR gadgets, however in the end didn’t launch its service for any AR platforms.
The firm was reportedly struggling in 2019 as a funding spherical fell by, effectively earlier than the novel coronavirus led to the cancellation of sporting occasions that it was scheduled to cowl dwell. One report in April advised that Apple may worth $100 million vary, although it’s unclear how a lot of NextVR is being acquired past its personnel and IP, similar to digital camera and video upscaling applied sciences. NextVR’s on-line schedule of upcoming occasions resulted in April, with numerous dwell 3D VR NBA video games listed as cancelled or “to be determined,” and nothing listed for May 2020 or therafter. As of immediately, the corporate’s website online now says solely that it’s “heading in a new direction,” with no additional particulars on its plans.