Amazon today announced the launch of Prime Video VR on Oculus Quest, Go, and Gear VR. In addition to bringing the entire Prime Video catalog onto the headsets, Amazon is also for the first time adding VR content to its Prime Video library.
Amazon has now followed other major content streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube into VR. The company today announced the launch of the Prime Video VR app which allows Prime members in the US and UK to stream the entire Prime Video content library, and also allows non-members to stream their library of purchased content. The app is available on Oculus Quest, Go, and Gear VR for free. A voice search feature makes it easy to search for content without relying on the virtual keyboard.
Amazon is also committing to bringing VR content to Prime Video VR. At today’s launch the library includes 10 “curated” 360 videos, and the company says it has plans to “continue to add new VR-specific titles.” Amazon’s announcement highlighted 3 of the 10 pieces of VR content:
- INVASION!: This Emmy-award- winning VR experience tells the story of menacing aliens who try to take over Earth and destroy anyone trying to stop them. The citizens of Earth are able to rise up and defeat the invaders – but these citizens aren’t humans. They’re two of the cutest, sweetest, cuddliest creatures of our planet: two little white bunnies, and in this story, you’re one of them!
- Return to Chernobyl: Go on a haunting journey inside the ruins of Chernobyl, guided by Aleksander Sirota — who was just 9 years old when he survived the disaster. Today, he is a tour guide bringing throngs of visitors through his notorious hometown, despite the still dangerous levels of radiation.
- Greenland Melting: To understand why Greenland’s glaciers are melting faster and faster, FRONTLINE and NOVA, two flagship PBS series, teamed up with Emblematic Group, xRez Studio and Realtra to bring this story to life as never before. Stand in front of glaciers, fly at low altitudes over some of the world’s most stunning scenery, and dive beneath the ocean’s surface to learn what NASA’s studies are revealing.
It isn’t clear if the app supports anything beyond monoscopic 360 playback for its VR-specific content, but we’d certainly hope to see 3D supported at a minimum, as well as the VR180 format which has been growing in popularity thanks to stereoscopy and increased quality compared to 360 playback.
While Hulu, YouTube, and now Amazon have all expanded their video streaming libraries with 360 content specifically for viewing in VR, Netflix has not.
HBO meanwhile had launched its first VR apps, HBO NOW VR and HBO GO VR, on Google’s Daydream back in late 2016, but ultimately pulled those services from the platform in January 2019, likely relating to Google’s fading interest in their Android VR initiative.