Now, that was the PC based VR hardware, the mobile based hardware is another story.
Mobile VR (and AR) was supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the expensive PC VR experiences, even though they looked nicer. Google had an amazing idea, to bring VR to the masses, with nothing more than cardboard. The cardboard VR headset was a great success actually. Everybody remembers when the New York Times, sent out 1.000.000, that’s right a million, Google Cardboards to their subscribers in order to promote their own VR app!
Samsung also joined the party with the Samsung Gear VR, produced by Oculus, a dedicated headset, with a connector, that allowed only Samsung phones to be connected, and when so, triggered the Samsung VR app. This also proved to be an ‘expensive sport’ as the flagship Samsung S6 that was being branded as compatible with the new Samsung Gear VR glasses went for almost $700 and the Samsung Gear VR, if you hadn’t got a deal and got them together, went for as high as $120 at the time. This meant that you needed to spend more than $800 to enjoy mobile VR, which was still in the early adopters phase.
Things seemed good for mobile VR, as it was beginning to be frequently used for marketing purposes, and for exhibition displays. Even Google joined the proper headset game, when they released Google Daydream View.
Then in October 2019, disaster. Both officially, and unofficially, Phone based VR had ended. You could still order a custom app made for you, and Unity, or a similar engine would produce an .apk file for you to install on your device (or upload to the Play Store) but Daydream was no longer up to date, as no new phones supported it, which lead people to believe that Google had abandoned the project. Samsung also hadn’t released a new Gear VR for two years, despite shipping a total of more than 5 million units just in the first year. Up until now Samsung hasn’t stated officially that the project was put on hold or discontinued. But as the headset is made by Oculus, Oculus’ CTO John Carmack, stated that that VR device’s days are numbered.