Google is sunsetting its 3D objects platform Poly

On the 2nd of December, 2020, Google announced that it will regrettably be shutting down its online 3D model service Google Poly on the 30th of June, 2021. This news comes as a shock to its multiple users, AR/VR (augmented and virtual reality) game designers paramount amongst them.

Google Poly was launched in 2017 and seemed like the answer to many indie game developers’ prayers. VR technology was taking off, and while 3D model libraries such as Blender were available, none of them were as accessible or easy to contribute to as what Poly offered. With a few simple tools, you could easily create useful, albeit medium to low quality shapes and even scenarios. With Poly getting its own API (application programming interface) shortly after in November, it became even easier to transfer models made by people across the world and use them for your own purposes. Independent game development and the world of virtual reality had suddenly widened up for more users to partake in.

Poly’s interface heavily relies on preloaded models in categories such as Animals and Pets. However, people are given the opportunity to update its library and create new objects and surroundings using other Google creative products such as Tilt Brush and Blocks. Combined with how accessible and easy to pick up these apps are, Poly’s library started blooming with a rush of creativity. The addition of the aforementioned API also meant that, put simply, people used to working on more complex software such as Blender or Maya could very easily upload their work onto Poly for public domain use.

While the news of Poly’s shutdown is saddening, this is hardly out of character for Google. The company has made quite an infamous reputation for axing multiple sites, projects, and applications throughout its history. An entire website entitled Google Graveyard is dedicated to listing all projects that have had the plug pulled on them. Featuring a shocking 220 different apps, some already shut down, others such as Poly soon on their way, it’s an interesting look at Google’s tendency to experiment in different avenues. At the time this article was written, a total of 6 were slated for “burial” in 2021, including the very popular Google Hangouts, looking at an unspecified date in June. Poly can also be found listed in the Graveyard, although looking it up might swing a bit too close to home for new developers planning to delve into VR.

Poly’s website has added a disclaimer that uploads will be stopped as early as the 30th of April and urges its members to download their libraries before they become permanently inaccessible.

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