On Monday, October 15, VR company Jaunt announced via a Medium article that the company will be downsizing and changing their focus to AR technology.
The article, titled “The Future of Jaunt is AR”, explained that the VR company “will be focusing efforts on further developing technologies that allow the scaled creation of AR content.” As a result, Jaunt “will be winding down a number of VR products and content services in the coming weeks… this unfortunately means that some of our valued and highly talented colleagues will be moving on.”
What About Jaunt’s Current Projects?
The article promised that the transitioning VR company will work with their current clients to make good on their current commitments. However, it is unclear what will come of smaller cases, like owners of the Jaunt One, the $100,000 VR camera.
Support for devices and services may be cared for in the future by Jaunt China, the recently launched partner VR company that will continue to offer VR services. Another question left unanswered by the announcement is how many of Jaunt’s employees will be laid off in the transition.
Why the Change?
These changes closely follow the appointment of a new CEO, Mitzki Reaugh, late last month. Reaugh follows George Kliavkoff, who had been the CEO since 2016. In Kliavkoff’s time as CEO, the company expanded markets, ramped up content production, and had a deal with streaming site Hulu to launch an app for streaming VR shows and movies.
Hulu wasn’t the only familiar name doing business with Jaunt in the last two years. Other partners included Disney, Condé Nast, Windows, and PlayStation.
As a VR company, Jaunt had a number of big-name investors, a high-end product line, and had even made a number of award-winning films. According to the company, the decision to change focus came from the success of their “recent advancements in volumetric XR technology,” i.e. Jaunt XR. Behind it is their latest tech that uses film and motion capture technology to create scalable 3D video that can be viewed in augmented reality through the use of a target and a compatible smartphone. Jaunt also mentioned doing more work with the recently acquired Chicago-based Personify Teleporter Technology.
While it may be too early to widely speculate about the future of Jaunt, recent releases suggest that the company may be moving away from consumer content. Many of the contracts that the company fostered in the last two years were heavily involved with not only the creation of VR content — an industry in which Jaunt was a leader — but also in making VR content more widely accessible to users. Their move away from VR and into AR technology more targeted at businesses may mean a larger shift away from consumer content.