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Gear VR to Launch with Free Store, Paid Content Coming Later

Anyone that’s been following VRFocus this month will be aware of the enormous amount of videogames, experiences and other projects that will be making their way to Samsung’s newly-revealed Gear VR smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), which is being developed in partnership with Oculus VR. Developers are eager to pledge support for the device, meaning its upcoming library already rivals that of the Oculus Rift HMD on PC. But according to Oculus VR’s VP of mobile Max Cohen, it’s the free experiences that will see release on Gear VR first.

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Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Cohen revealed that Gear VR would be launching with a ‘free store’, with paid for products following around a month afterwards. “At the end of the day, as great as doing the art for free and sharing that is, we will have a hundred times more content when people can actually monetize it,” Cohen reasoned. “This is a business. There’s nothing wrong with that. People need to be able to feed themselves. Our job is to make the platform as friendly for developers as we can so that it’s painless. You don’t have to worry about a bunch of overhead.”

Oculus VR revealed a dedicated store for Gear VR with the device’s reveal at the start of September 2014. Last weekend it revealed that said store will be integrated across a range of platforms, including the Oculus Rift itself, in the future. This is an expansion of the Oculus VR Share software portal it already has running with free content, now named Oculus Platform. It’s not clear, then, if full products such as VR videogames will be allowed to launch with Gear VR, or must wait until the release of the commerce section of the store.

Gear VR is expected to launch in mid-October 2014 as an Innovator Edition designed for developers and early adopters. VRFocus will continue to follow the device’s progress going forward, reporting back with any further updates on its development.