Virtual Reality

The first consumer-focused Samsung Gear VR will cost $99, launches this November

The first consumer-focused Sam...
Samsung's Peter Koo shows off the new Gear VR
Samsung's Peter Koo shows off the new Gear VR
View 5 Images
Samsung's Peter Koo shows off the new Gear VR
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Samsung's Peter Koo shows off the new Gear VR
The headset costs US$99 and goes on sale in November
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The headset costs US$99 and goes on sale in November
It's "virtual reality for everyone" – if you have a Samsung phone
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It's "virtual reality for everyone" – if you have a Samsung phone
Games old and new will be available with the new hardware
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Games old and new will be available with the new hardware
Twitch and Netflix apps are included too – but only as 2D screens in 3D space to begin with
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Twitch and Netflix apps are included too – but only as 2D screens in 3D space to begin with
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At the Oculus Connect Developer Conference today, Samsung SVP Peter Koo announced a new Samsung Gear VR headset designed to give millions more users their first taste of VR: it's compatible with any 2015 Samsung flagship smartphone and costs just US$99 (half the price of the pre-consumer Gear VR Innovator Edition headsets).

The unit, scheduled to ship in November, lets anyone with a Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Note 5 or S6 Edge+ handset plug in and play. It's 22 percent lighter than the previous version, according to Samsung, and includes an improved touchpad system.

It's "virtual reality for everyone" in the words of Koo – or at least everyone with a newer Samsung smartphone – and it prepares the ground for the full Oculus Rift launch coming next year (a much more capable but PC-based headset).

Any good headset needs content and software, and Oculus and Samsung had some announcements on that front too. Netflix, Hulu and Twitch are three of the apps users will find available inside the Gear VR ecosystem in the near future. That doesn't mean you'll suddenly be able to step into the world of House of Cards, but you will be able to watch it in a virtual cinema designed to your tastes.

Games were on the agenda too. Oculus' Max Cohen announced a new Oculus Arcade portal, ready for the Gear VR, which is going to feature classic arcade games from the likes of Sega, Midway and Bandai Namco. We're also going to see many more original games, like the recently announced Land's End from UsTwo (the developers of Monument Valley).

With a cheap ticket price, compatibility with more phones and enough content to make a purchase worthwhile, the new Samsung Gear VR should mean virtual reality is in the hands (or on the heads) of many more people by Christmas.

Gizmag on the ground at Oculus Connect; stay tuned for hands-on impressions and executive interviews.

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2 comments
DonGateley
All the porn fans who jump all over this are going to be really disappointed that the Oculus Store forbids it and there is no other way to get content for the device without some rigmarole (that can be defeated anytime Oculus chooses to do so) and registering as an Oculus developer.
Derek Howe
Don - Riiiiiiight, No porn on VR is like a fat vegetarian...never gonna happen.
If the VR porn market is big (and we all know it will be) people will find ways, whether that be a VR headset that allows it, or some type on "jailbreak" style setup that lets you use Oculus for unintended purposes.
I think it's cool this is only 100 bucks, But when I make the VR plunge, I wanna be blown away. So I'm likely going to buy the original Oculus & hook it up to my pc, which thankfully is only a couple months old, so it can handle the demands that the oculus puts on it.