The Oculus Quest 2 is a VR headset that runs on the more consumer-friendly end of the VR spectrum, ranking a comfortable middle ground between a high-end PC and a mobile device.
When I first heard about Prime Video’s latest addition to its library, Prime Videos VR, I was excited for an excuse to put my new toy through its paces. A dedicated app with full 360° video support made me hopeful that Amazon had some real ambition in its foray into Virtual Reality and with an introductory price of $2 for over 15 minutes worth of content seemed like a great opportunity to jump in and see what all the hype surrounding this new medium was about. That said, there were some concerns: Was the content any good? Could this app deliver enough to make it worth the monthly subscription fee coming next month? And more importantly, was Prime Video VR on the Oculus Quest 2 worth the $40 price tag that accompanied it at launch.
My fears were misplaced. Prime Video VR is not just “good for a mobile-first platform”, it’s simply good. For what it lacks in high-budget visual effects and big-name Hollywood talent, Prime Video has made up for with effort and attention to detail – so much so that I would challenge even someone of the most discerning taste to find something to complain about here. Each piece of content is lovingly shot and expertly choreographed, leaving little room for improvement in the various aspects of video quality that are so often lacking from VR experiences. Despite being a relatively short experience as far as video content goes, each of Prime Video’s offerings feels like a full-fledged production and more than justifies the cost of admission for those curious about this new medium.
While it’s difficult to pick a favorite between the varied collection of experiences on offer, I have to admit that my time spent watching “The American West” had a special place in my heart. While 4K footage isn’t supported on the Oculus Quest 2, Prime Video does an admirable job with its lower resolution 360° option – enough so that I found myself entranced by Amazon’s Western-themed offering despite not having any prior interest in such things (I’m more into fantasy, sci-fi, and horror). The attention to detail really brings its world to life in an immersive way that genuinely impresses.
A few other highlights are “Underwater”, which has you exploring the wonders of the deep with a pair of scientists, “Life in VR” which lets you experience all sorts of different things through the eyes of a child – not unlike Google’s Daydream Labs app, currently unavailable on Quest 2 – and “Displaced”, an emotionally gripping piece that tells the story of refugees displaced by violence in South Sudan. All three offer unique experiences that feel particularly well suited to video storytelling, so much so that I’m excited to see what comes next from Prime Video VR.
Overall, while $40 is still a significant investment for an app like this, I feel like Prime Video VR is worth the money. It has firmly changed my opinion that low-resolution 360° video can’t be used to tell stories; something that other apps before it had failed to do. While there are other content providers out there trying to get in on the game, Prime seems like a safe bet should you want to give this new medium a shot. The Oculus Quest 2’s high level of immersion combined with Amazon’s high production values makes for an experience well worth the price of admission and comes highly recommended.