VRDC Sponsor Highlight: How Google is working to build high-quality mobile VR and an open ecosystem with Daydream

[In an effort to shed light on VRDC’s Diamond sponsors and their efforts to support and nurture the flourishing VR/AR industry, today we’d like to quickly share a brief interview conducted with Google’s own Nathan Martz.

Below, Martz opens up about his perspective on VR, where Google sees itself in the market and how it’s working to  developers who have a passion for VR/AR design.] 

My name is Nathan Martz, and I’m the lead Product Manager for the Daydream developer platform. I work closely with our internal engineering teams, technology partners like Epic and Unity, and developers outside Google to ensure that Daydream is a great platform for creators. We want to make sure that our team’s mission of “VR for everyone” applies just as much to developers as it does to consumers.

With the recent announcement of Pixel and Google’s Daydream View, how do you see the future of mobile VR devices growing in the next few months?

Google, as a company, has always focused on initiatives that scale. The vast majority of people who experience VR over the next few years will do so via a smartphone. So, that’s why we’re we’re focused on building high quality smartphone VR with Daydream and an open ecosystem that allows for rapid growth as more Android manufacturers release their own Daydream-ready devices.

Google’s taken an interesting development curve with the inclusion of a remote control “wand” that is packaged with Daydream devices. Do you feel hand controllers have a future in mobile VR?

Absolutely. VR is as much about compelling interactions as high fidelity visual representations, and the Daydream controller is the first device to give users a real sense of hand-presence in mobile VR. It is both accessible – anyone can pick it up and use it without looking at it – and expressive – it gives developers more than enough input to create rich, compelling experiences.

Can you explain how Google works with developers to help them create software for Google Daydream?

We know that ultimately users will buy VR devices for the experiences they enable instead of the hardware. We’ve been investing heavily in supporting original Daydream content from great creators, including major brands like HBO and the Wall Street Journal to innovative indies like Bithell and Resolution Games.

Lastly, what are some of the non-entertainment, non-gaming applications for Daydream that you have seen in development, or you anticipate will be in development soon?

We have incredible content coming from the likes of The Guardian and The New York times, partners who are using VR to help people understand the world and how it’s changing in powerful new ways. In education, we are working on apps that use VR to explain everything from understanding the stars around us to the atoms inside us. Finally, we’re bringing Google experiences like Street View to VR, so you instantly walk around anywhere on earth.

VRDC 2016 will take place November 2-3 at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco. For more information on VRDC 2016, visit the show’s official website and subscribe to regular updates via Twitter and Facebook.