Thanks to the recent surge of interest in virtual reality, we’re now witnessing an intense, almost frenzied fascination among camera companies with models that shoot 360-degree video. After all, what good is a $599 headset if you don’t have high-quality eye candy to explore?
A year ago, Pentax introduced its Theta action cam. This month, it was Nikon with its Keymission 360. And so, it’s not surprising that GoPro, the runaway leader in the action cam market, will be introducing two 360-degree camera rigs later this year. Most consumers won’t consider buying either of these expensive pieces of equipment, which both can shoot in 4K, but you may see video shot with them if you invest in Google Cardboard or another headset. And in the next couple of years, prices should drop into the expensive-but-sane range.
GoPro’s $15,000, 16-camera Odyssey is designed for professionals—presumably for Hollywood and ESPN. But the company also plans to release a consumer-friendly model. At what price? That’s not yet clear. But, since the rugged, waterproof device will have six GoPro cams integrated into it, it is likely to cost upwards of $2,000. That would be quite expensive, but still within reach for some really committed amateurs. At least GoPro is hoping so, because the company has a lot riding on the product: After announcing disappointing sales figures for the holiday season, the company recently announced it was cutting 7 percent of its workforce.