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YouTube VR App Launches on Gear VR, Gets Co-Viewing Feature

YouTube is bringing its virtual reality (VR) video app to Samsung’s Gear VR headset, a move that could potentially bring millions of new viewers to VR content hosted on YouTube. The video service also announced a new co-viewing feature for its VR app Wednesday.

The YouTube VR app is going live on the Oculus Store this week, where it will be available for free for Gear VR users. YouTube VR had already been available on Google’s Daydream View headset as well as HTC Vive and Playstation VR headsets.

Asked whether YouTube had any plans to bring YouTube VR to the Oculus Go next, a spokesperson didn’t have any details to share. “We want everyone with a VR headset to be able to experience YouTube VR, and we’re working to bring it to more VR platforms in the future,” she added.

YouTube also announced a new co-viewing mode for YouTube VR Wednesday. Users can enter public viewing parties with up to 4 viewers for each and every video on the service by clicking on a “watch together” icon. The co-viewing feature is coming to both Daydream View and Gear VR.

YouTube VR watch together
CREDIT: Courtesy of YouTube

The expansion of YouTube VR to Gear VR is significant for a few reasons: For one, Gear VR remains the most popular VR headset, with Samsung announcing in early 2017 that it had sold over 5 million units.

It’s also noteworthy that Gear VR is powered by Facebook’s Oculus software. Facebook and Google are directly competing on multiple fronts on VR and AR, and Google had in the past been slow to expand its VR titles to the Oculus platform.

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