Amazon is getting into virtual reality, job ad suggests – USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO Ã¢Â€Â” Amazon is tossing its oversized hat in the virtual reality ring, joining content-producing rivals Hulu and Netflix in a quest to woo consumers with what promises to be the next great tech trend.
In a posting on the job networking and employer assessment site Glassdoor, Amazon is recruiting for a senior development manager for its VR program that requires 15-plus years of “relevant engineering experience” and a proven team-building track record.
The post, whichÃ‚Â was first reported by VR-newsÃ‚Â site Upload, notes that “the future will not be limited to passive 2D experiences. The (Amazon) Virtual Reality team will explore and create the platform and interface for immersive storytelling. This will include an ingestion and playback platform for Virtual Reality experiences.”
Amazon declined to comment further on the posting.
The Seattle-based online retailer is among the leaders of a new generation of tech-owned content producers, recently receiving twoÃ‚Â Golden Globe awards for its Amazon Prime Video series Mozart in the Jungle. Netflix was also a big nominee at the January awards, though it did not win any for its critically acclaimed series House of Cards and Narcos.
Last fall, Hulu announced it would start producing original VR content, while Netflix created its own VR movie theater app for Samsung’s $99 Gear VR Powered by Oculus headset.
Amazon may well start creating its own content in VR, but given the company’s core mission, it is as likely to use the technology to enhance the purchasing experience.
“Amazon ultimately is all about shopping, getting you into their (online)Ã‚Â store and keeping you there,” says Peter Csathy, CEO ofÃ‚Â business consulting and legal services firmÃ‚Â ManattÃ‚Â Digital Media. “The promise of VR immersive shopping is very significant and potentially massive, and Amazon can play in a way no one else can.
Besides, said Csathy, Amazon may want to offer content that complements all the VR-related gear for sale.
A number of high-end VR headsets will make their way into developers’ hands this year, including devices from Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR, priced anywhere from around $500 to $2,000, depending on whether they come bundled with a computer to power the tethered device. The Holy Grail for both virtual and augmented reality gearÃ‚Â engineers is to create headgear able to produce crystallineÃ‚Â images without being physically connected to a PC.
Google also is said to be working on expanding its VR offerings, which are at the moment rooted to its smartphone-based Cardboard device. Apple has not yet said publicly whether it is delving into VR, but it’sÃ‚Â tough to imagine any major tech company sitting on the VR sidelines given industry advisor Digi-Capital’s prediction of a $120 billion VR/AR business by 2020.
Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter:Ã‚Â @marcodellacava
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