YouTube VR is already available on nearly all major virtual reality platforms, including the PlayStation VR, Daydream, and HTC Vive. Now, YouTube is officially extending support to Samsung Gear VR users, and is also introducing new features that will let them watch videos together and chat.
While it's already possible to access YouTube via the built-in browser on the Gear VR, the update fulfills a notable absence in the Gear VR video ecosystem. The app will be available to download from the Oculus Store for free starting this week. Unfortunately, Google didn't mention any plans to bring the app to the new standalone Oculus Go device.
Watch Together In YouTube VR
Aside from releasing a Gear VR version of the app, one of Google's goals was to focus on building a space where players can interact and experience VR with other people. Which is why it's introducing a new feature called "Watch Together." This feature can be accessed from the YouTube VR app by clicking on the new icon beneath the play controls, and allows gamers to watch and engage in discussions "in a communal, virtual space" — very much like Ready Player One.
New Content On YouTube VR
Google is also releasing brand new VR content, including a new music experience that'll let players tag along backstage with Portugal. The Man and Hayley Kiyoko as they prepare before they perform. It's all part of the VR180 Rockstar VR series, and gamers will get a behind-the-scenes look into the lives of other musicians as well.
There's also a series called The Female Planet, which will put gamers right in front of female leaders, trailblazers, and athletes. One of the first few people to be featured is Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic bronze medalist in fencing who was the first Muslim-American woman to wear a hijab while competing.
For those who want a more action-packed ride, they can turn to SoKrispyMedia, which will put gamers in the middle of a video game where they're tasked to escape a digital world before a glitch traps them there forever.
"VR can take you anywhere, and YouTube VR can bring you to more places in the virtual world than anywhere else," YouTube wrote in a blog post. "I've never been more excited about the next places VR storytellers, explorers and the community will take us — letting us experience them as if we're actually there."