While smartphones continue to grow in power and quality, many still question if they can be used for true virtual reality (VR) experiences. Plenty of head-mounted displays (HMD) already offer the chance to plug in a handset and have it act as a display for an Android of iOS-based VR experience, although these are thought to be less convicning than the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus HMDs that use high tech machines to power VR videogames. According to Bandit Six developer Climax Studios, Samsung’s upcoming Gear VR HMD could change all that.
Speaking to Develop, Climax Studios’ technical director James Sharman stated that Gear VR, which runs using Samsung’s 5.7 inch, Quad HD Galaxy Note 4 smartphone as a display, offers a ‘superior’ experience to the first development kit (DK1) for the Oculus Rift.
“The experience these devices offer is superior to the first generation Oculus kits that wowed the entire industry,” Sharman said when asked about the viability of mobile VR. “Devices backed by high-end GPU hardware are going to offer a visually richer experience, but this has all the right pieces to give you the sudden feeling of being somewhere else.”
This statement isn’t too surprising given that the Galaxy Note 4’s display is vastly superior not just to the Oculus Rift DK1 but also the second development kit’s (DK2) 1080p OLED panel, which comes from Samsung itself. The Gear VR also has the bonus of being unteathered whereas the Oculus Rift uses a wired connection to a PC. Of course, the HMD does miss out on the positional tracking featured in the Oculus Rift DK2, but that hasn’t stopped other developers from stating that the device was better than even that device.
Gear VR is expected to launch in mid-October 2014 as an Innovator Edition. Climax Studios recently revealed Bandit Six as its first of two titles coming to the platform. VRFocus will continue to follow both the developer and Gear VR going forward, reporting back with any further updates.