Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Google's Getting Rid Of Its Best-Selling Cardboard Product

Google has announced that it will no longer be selling Google Cardboard — which may not be a big surprise to anyone who has been following Google's ventures into the VR space.

Google Cardboard is a simple cardboard device that can be assembled at home by anyone and then worn as a visor. When used with a smartphone, it can be used to view simple, interactive VR experiences. But when Google Cardboard was initially released, VR was quite expensive — and the technology was still fairly rudimentary (and nobody quite knew what effects it could have on the human body). However, that didn't stop the project from achieving a decent bit of success. According to The Verge, over 10 million units of Google Cardboard had been sold by 2017.


Since then, virtual reality has not only improved technologically, but it has also become more affordable. The Oculus Quest 2 now retails for as low as $299, compared to other headsets which can approach $1,000. While Google did not directly state why Google Cardboard was being discontinued, it may be that Google Cardboard has simply outlived its usefulness as a cost-effective introduction to VR.

Google has a long history of abandoning high-profile projects; it recently shut down its game studio after seeing disappointing returns from its Stadia platform. Google Cardboard also wasn't Google's only VR venture. Last year, Google discontinued its Daydream Headset — a sub-$100 device that could be used along with an Android phone. Along with the Daydream Headset, Google also stopped work on its Daydream VR platform, which had included an assortment of games and interactive experiences, such as Google Maps VR.


And in the augmented reality space, few can forget Google Glass — a hands-free AR device that bombed on the consumer market and is now being sold as an enterprise-grade solution. Google Glass retailed for $1,500 and was widely seen as a failure. However, it's currently on the second release of its enterprise edition, suggesting there may be a bit of life in it yet.

Fans of Google Cardboard will be delighted to know that the product isn't entirely going away. After all, it's just cardboard. A Google Cardboard viewer can still be purchased from third parties, produced to Google's specifications. Back in 2019, Google Cardboard went open source — and Google has pledged to continue supporting the open source community. So, both the cardboard device and its software remain online.

While Google appears to be firmly exiting the VR space (at least for now), there still seems to be some hope for the company's augmented reality division. According to Business Insider, Google's X team is now working on the ability to give users superhuman hearing, in a project codenamed "Wolverine." With many companies looking to conquer the visual aspect of VR and AR, Google may be looking to tackle the other senses.