Samsung has partnered with Oculus for its upcoming Gear VR headset, which will cost exactly $99.
2018 Update: You can now purchase the Samsung VR headset at amazon.com by clicking this link.
The new Gear VR, like the previous model, will not have a built in screen or processor, but instead will hold any Samsung smartphone, which functions as the central brains and display for the unit. The last generation Gear VR, which a good proof of concept, was only compatible with one phone- the Note 4, which made it unavailable for most people. The new Gear VR is compatible with the Note 5, S6, S6 Edge, and S6 Edge Plus.
Samsung has stated that its new head-unit is 22% lighter, which should make it much more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
On the software side of things, Samsung is bringing a new arcade experience to their phones that will allow users to play classic arcade games while in the immersive virtual reality headset, controlling the games with head movements. It will be interesting to see whether Samsung allows users to play games from the arcade without a headset, and we hope that some other developers join in, so Samsung doesn’t control the whole game market.
Oculus has announced a new “Oculus Ready” branding that can be slapped on products and systems that meet a certain level of quality. It is expected that in order to obtain this branding, a product must have powerful graphics hardware allowing it to truly immerse the user. Oculus is clearly moving away from its developer-centered origins as it tries to market to regular consumers.
Also announced was the company’s Oculus Touch system, designed to provide precise tactile feedback to wearers to further immerse the user in their virtual environment.
Further information on upcoming games and products are yet to be published, but it’s likely that with how popular VR is becoming, there are some products on the verge of being released. Oculus’s Rift package will be shipping in early 2016, but we expect to see some games before then.