May 14, 2020 - Technology

Apple scoops up live virtual reality streamer NextVR

A statement on NextVR's website indicating it is headed in a new direction.

Screenshot: Axios

As had been rumored, Apple is buying NextVR, an Orange County, Calif.-based startup best known for streaming sports, concerts and other live events in virtual reality. The company confirmed the acquisition first to Bloomberg, and also to Axios.

Why it matters: NextVR was struggling before the pandemic hit. The combination of slower-than-expected adoption of VR headsets and now a lack of live events put severe pressure on the company's ability to fundraise and build its business.

The purchase price was not disclosed and Apple declined to comment beyond telling Axios, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans," the typical statement it offers when it buys a company.

Context: While NextVR had deals with the National Basketball Association and others, Apple's acquisition doesn't necessarily mean Apple will continue taking the company in that direction. Indeed, the only message now on NextVR's website is a statement that "NextVR is heading in a new direction" and thanking its existing fans.

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