It’s been a long while coming, but Google has finally launched a YouTube VR app on PC. The app is now available on Steam, officially for the Vive (but also functional with Rift and Windows VR headsets). Google expects YouTube VR to remain in Early Access through 2018 as they continue to develop it based on feedback.

As one of the largest video content libraries on the planet, demand for being able to watch YouTube content in a VR headset has been understandably strong. Google however hung onto YouTube (seemingly in a strategic move) for itself, launching the first official YouTube VR app for the company’s Daydream platform in 2016 (and notably keeping it from competitor Gear VR).

At the beginning of 2017, PlayStation VR was the first tethered headset to see an official YouTube VR app, but it isn’t until now at the very end of the year that YouTube VR has come to Vive, Rift, and Windows VR via Steam. The app, which is free (and Google says will remain so), allows users to watch any YouTube video, 360 or otherwise (including stereoscopic video).

Image courtesy Google

For Vive and Rift users interested in watching some of the interesting 360 video content out there, it’s been frustrating to either need to download a bespoke app for each video, use an unofficial workaround, or simply not have any way of accessing the content at all. As one of the largest 360 video libraries around today, the YouTube VR app on PC will hopefully mean much broader and more seamless access to 360 content across headsets. Gear VR is still left out in the rain for now, as far as an official YouTube VR app goes, but at least users can access and watch content from via the headset’s web browser.

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VR has put Google in a curious place; the company—which is famously web and mobile-first—has now launched a number of PC applications in an effort to forge a path as a pioneer in the VR space. Though Google is also very involved with the development of WebVR, the launch of YouTube VR on Steam suggests the company didn’t feel WebVR was yet mature enough to support the experience they wanted to create.

Image courtesy Google

It took a while, but YouTube VR on PC was largely inevitable. Google may have played things close to the vest for some time, but ultimately the company’s play with YouTube has been to make its content available to the widest group of people as possible; the move is also sensible to support Google’s growing efforts to equip creators with the skills and equipment to shoot 360 content, like the Jump Start program.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • RFC_VR

    That’s great news for PC VR.

    YouTube VR on Daydream is very slick and there’s a real wealth of different content

    • fuyou2


  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    Censorship VR, by Google (ISISraHell).

    • Mary

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      On tuesday I got a great New Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    • Debra

      Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleInternetComunityMoneyWorkFromHome/online/easytasks ★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫★★✫★✫:::::!da308luuuu

  • Graham

    Yes, good news for pc vr. I know a lot of people don’t like 360 videos but the you tube app on psvr has been fun and it’s a good one to show the family cos of range of videos

    • fuyou2

      TROLL 2

      • Graham

        What are you on about? How can saying something positive be a troll?

        • RFC_VR

          It’s all positive if you share my view that different VR platforms can be explored simply to experience the widest range of vr applications. Hmd is just an access tool, content is the king regardless of platform it’s accessible from.

          • Graham

            Yes, agree – think too many people don’t support vr in general and get caught up in ridiculous factions / fanboy groups. I only have a psvr at moment but am looking to expand into pc vr next year – just waiting to see what emerges.

  • Myrddin Emrys

    Note: A popular VR app, Virtual Desktop, has supported downloading and playing (but not streaming) Youtube VR content since the Vive was first released. Streaming is often a sub-optimal choice for VR content anyway.

    Still, a fully supported and integrated app is certainly preferable.

  • WebVR is still not mature enough… it has too many issues: sometimes after some updates on my PC, some webvr websites have issues in showing themselves in my headset. Apart from the app, I found Opera support for VR videos very very effective…

  • I downloaded the Youtube VR app on my app. I’m glad that they have a dedicated tab which makes it easy to watch only 360 videos. But there is no option to watch only 360 videos. Once your video finishes, the next video could be a 2D video.

    If you enjoy watching travel videos on Youtube VR, checkout Travel VR on Oculus Rift and Vive. It is a free app which lets you fly around the world and then pick a country to watch 360 videos of that place.
    Over 20,000 people have downloaded the app.

  • Adriano Farina

    Just tested. But spatial audio does not work… Boooo!
    What’s the point to view a 360 video loosing spatial audio? Any decent Android smartphone plays it correctly with a cheap cardboard visor, it is nonsense to miss the spatial audio on a top-quality VR device such as my HTC Vive…