November 10, 2016 Last Updated 10:12 am

YouTube launches new VR app, available first for Daydream View

A number of publishers have invested and gotten excited about VR, but many were also very excited about digital editions, and we know that didn’t last long

I‘m a VR skeptic. But that doesn’t mean I am betting the farm against. One reason is… I don’t own a far. But if I did, well, you get the idea.

daydreamviewToday, Google owned YouTube announced a new YouTube VR app, available first on Daydream, Google’s VR headset that costs $79 in the US ($99 in Canada, £69 in the UK, €69 in Germany, and $119 in Australia). The headset is available beginning today through the Google Store, and retail outlets in the various countries.

“This new standalone app was built from the ground up and optimized for VR. You just need a Daydream-ready phone like Pixel and the new Daydream View headset and controller to get started,” YouTube’s blog said.

“We’ve also been working to allow you to have experiences or visit places you might not be able to (or might not dare to!) in real life. Go swimming with sharks thanks to Curiscope, get a first-hand look at a living, breathing dinosaur at the Natural History Museum in London, travel to Belize with StyleHaul, hike a trail a thousand miles away with Daniel and Kelly at Fitness Blender, or watch Tritonal in concert no matter where you are.”

I’m skeptical of VR precisely because of the headset requirement (though it also works on smartphones), it reminds me too much of 3D.

But I recognize, too, that it is also different – and like digital editions, has tremendous creative potential. Unfortunately, publishers in the main have not taken advantage of the potential of digital editions, and so I see them losing focus here, too. But we’ll see.

(Then there is that whole monetization issue.)

Here is Google’s promotional video for the app.

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