This has been a long time coming and Vive (and even Rift) users should be happy to know that Google has finally added native PC VR support to YouTube VR. The app, which launched for Google Daydream last year, and added support for PSVR earlier this year was sadly missing in the lives of Vive owners. Contending with unofficial workarounds or just downloading or buying apps for each video was a pain. Which is why many, if not most, Vive users have just avoided watching 360-degree videos through their headsets.
However, Google finally added native support to the video-viewing platform after the Vive has been commercially available for almost 2 years. It makes sense that they would though since YouTube offers the largest library of videos on the internet. And with their decision to create native VR headset support for 360 videos via their YouTube VR app, it would be strange if they didn’t add support for a large chunk of the virtual reality community.
YouTube VR is Not Perfect Yet but it’s Free
The YouTube VR app just launched on Steam and is free to anyone who wants to download it. Vive, Rift and Windows Mixed Reality users will be able to have access to 360 video content by using the app. It doesn’t officially support the Rift or Windows Mixed Reality headsets yet (though it probably soon will) but it should work almost if not just as well on the Vive platform.
Unfortunately, no native support for Gear VR users is on the horizon yet, though the mobile platform is in direct competition with Google’s Daydream headsets. So we might never. But Gear VR users can still watch YouTube videos through the headset’s web browser. It’s not a great consolation, but it’s there.
YouTube VR is in Early Access right now, and will remain there for the next year or so, but apparently, most of it is already there and now the small tweaks just need to be added. It does support Vive’s controllers, which you’ll use to navigate the app but since it is in EA you should know that you’re probably going to encounter a bug or two. As well as some design and UI issues that need to be sorted out during its EA run. So yeah, it’s not perfect yet but knowing Google, it will probably get there eventually.