Wave has announced that they have “de-prioritised” their VR app and it will shut down at the end of March. The company claims that it will help them focus on helping “more fans experience our virtual events on popular streaming platforms.”
They are not closing but it is certainly major news that a company once called TheWaveVR has now almost completely moved away from VR technology. They tweeted a statement from the co-founder and CEO, Adam Arrigo:
“Two years ago, we pivoted out of VR into gaming and live streaming, as the VR industry didn’t develop as quickly as we’d hoped…Even though it doesn’t fit our current business model, we’ve kept TheWaveVR app and servers running just because the community in there has made such inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, we built the user tools on top of Google Poly, which is shutting down.
As much as we’d love to, we aren’t able to spend the resources to build a new backend pipeline, since we are already spread so thin trying to accomplish our current set of non VR objectives.”
This news really hits home the point that widespread adoption of VR is the only real way to maintain the industry. Companies like Wave that offer services and products outside of the traditional gaming ecosystem are so few and far between that news like this is so disheartening.
As much as writers like myself like to rail against the dangers that Facebook and Oculus pose to VR, they have gone a long way in making the onboarding process for new users so much easier. Both in price and ease of use. It’s a lot more of an attractive proposition to say that you can buy a headset for $300 and it contains everything you need to get started straight away.
If we want to move the industry beyond enthusiasts and gamers, we need better pricing and more ease of use.