Samsung finally launched its Gear 360 camera in the U.S. today, but the company also had some big news for its virtual reality platform. Samsung VR is replacing the old Milk VR app and opening up to the public in an effort to compete with video platforms like YouTube and Facebook.
Anyone can upload a 360-degree video with Samsung VR. That’s a nice change from Milk VR, which offered a curated experience with videos from specific brands and publishers. The app still features plenty of high-quality content, but pretty soon that will exist next to user-generated videos.
Samsung VR is also available even if you don’t have a Gear VR headset. The Android app is available now, allowing you to explore 360-degree videos on a compatible mobile device by simply moving it left and right or up and down. You can also use the app to upload 360-degree videos, though it only appears to support the latest crop of flagship Samsung smartphones (Galaxy S6 or newer).
Combined with the Gear 360, Samsung says it now offers a full “end-to-end VR ecosystem” by supplying all the software and hardware you need to create and experience 360-degree videos. That should give the Korean company a fighting chance to compete with Facebook and YouTube, which already boast pretty impressive libraries of VR-ready videos.