Is YouTube Ready For Virtual Reality?

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Forget high-def and 3D, with the rise of virtual reality startups like Oculus Rift, the future of entertainment is VR. That’s virtual reality for anyone who never saw a cartoon in the 90’s, and it’s coming sooner than you think to the platforms that you love. In an effort to get ahead of the trend, YouTube has announced that it will soon be able to support footage uploaded from the trendy crop of 360 cameras that hit the market last year from companies like Kodak, Ricoh, Giroptic, and VSN and Bublcam. As the name suggests, the cameras capture 360 degrees of footage and could be used to create content for a virtual reality platform.

The video giant hasn’t provided a launch date, but a statement to tech blog Gizmodo suggested that the new feature could be mere weeks away. More importantly, the statement makes it clear that the company wants fans and competitors to know that it’s gearing up to join the 360 video arms race. This is one area where YouTube competitor Facebook has a major advantage, having already acquired the field’s leading start-up, Oculus VR, early last year.

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There’s no word yet from YouTube on what you could do with the 360 footage once it’s been uploaded, but being able to share this kind of cutting-edge content on the world’s biggest video platform is probably enough. Add to that Google’s own virtual reality technology, Cardboard, and by next year we could all be sitting in our favorite YouTuber’s virtual bedrooms instead of watching them on a tiny screen.