As Netflix’s business continues to flourish, bringing in new customers to their streaming service, while also expanding rapidly internationally, one would expect that the company would at least show a little love towards the upcoming technologies behind virtual reality. The company, however, seems to be turning their attention in other directions, waiting to see where the industry goes before investing large sums of cash on content creation and higher bandwidth streaming capabilities required for virtual reality.
“We’re really focused on movies and TV shows and doing more of those, which you can watch in a virtual reality headset if you want to,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Mashable, “but we think most people will watch Netflix on a smartphone or a smart TV.”
While Netflix has not entirely ignored the VR space, launching an application for viewing 2D movies in a virtual reality theater, it appears as if they are happy taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. The question is, will this approach allow the competition to get a meaningful head start within the VR space. Hulu last month launched a virtual reality application, along with 30 non-exclusive VR videos for users to play around with. At the same time Twitch, Vimeo, and TiVo are all reportedly planning to launch virtual reality applications shortly.
“VR in the near term might be seen as something for gaming but we’re interested too,” explained Netflix’s Vice President of Product Development, Chris Jaffe. “My personal take is I’m interested in seeing where the storytelling aspects develop,”
Clearly it appears as if Netflix prefers to watch as their competition enters the space, allowing the other companies to make the costly mistakes, while in the meantime figuring out the perfect VR model to compliment their already thriving streaming 2D video business. Will we likely see exclusive virtual reality content coming from the company one day? Absolutely. Will that day be within the next year or two? Probably not. After all, why would they spend tens of millions of dollars creating exclusive content when at the current time only a small percentage of their subscribers have a VR headset to view such content with?
Are you a Netflix subscriber? Would you like to see the company enter the VR space sooner rather than later? Let us know your thoughts in the Netflix VR forum on VRTalk.com