At the I/O developer conference next week, Google is widely expected to delve deeper into virtual reality with a Gear VR-like headset. And while we don’t know what that means quite yet, it seems Google could announce VR software at the event as a reference to “AndroidVR” was spotted in the latest Unreal Engine preview…
Unreal Engine is a suite of game development tools that can be used on a variety of platforms from consoles to mobile devices. The “AndroidVR” reference was spotted in the release notes for Preview 3 of Unreal Engine 4.12:
“Fixed! UE-30404 Need to integrate engine changes in support of AndroidVR plugin to 4.12, for day-and-date release”.
Back in February, the Financial Times reported that Google wants to improve mobile VR by integrating software directly into Android. Currently, Cardboard just resides as an app, but by adding system-level integration, latency could be decreased and users could spend more time plugged in. There are already references in the current Android N Developer Preview to the VR helper service.
The Wall Street Journal has previously reported that a Gear VR-like headset could be launched as soon as I/O. It also reported on a more advanced standalone device that would not require a phone. This device is not expected to launch until the end of the year, but Google could also decide to abandon the project.
We’re not Unreal Engine experts, so it’s possible that this means that Unreal has integrated said engine changes for a plugin of their own called ‘AndroidVR’. If you know more about this let us know in the comments, but either way, all signs point to Google taking the VR bull by the horns.