LOS ANGELES: Google has quietly removed the Google Play Movies & TV app from its Daydream VR platform. The app allowed users to rent, buy and watch movies and TV show episodes from the Play Store in a virtual living room.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the removal of the app when contacted by Variety, noting that users can also access their rented and bought movies and TV shows via the YouTube VR app on Daydream. He added that there were no plans to remove other Google apps from Daydream.
YouTube and Google Play Movies long have shared access to the same library of commercial VOD titles, allowing users to watch movies rented with one of the apps in the other one as well. However, YouTube VR arguably has much less of a focus on paid titles. There is no dedicated VOD section in the app, and users can't actually pay for a video from within the VR app.
Google isn't the first company to reconsider movie rentals for VR. Facebook shut down the Rift VOD store in late 2018, and has yet to offer paid video rentals for its new Quest headset. However, Oculus VR CTO John Carmack hinted at plans to bring paid video rentals to the headset in a tweet Thursday morning.
Google's decision to shut down Play Movies on Daydream also comes as the company has been shifting resources from VR to AR across the board. In March, Google shut down its Spotlight Stories VR studio, and in May, it shuttered its Jump VR camera and cloud stitching program. – Variety/Reuters