The virtual reality (VR) community is eagerly awaiting the arrival of one of the first consumer head-mounted displays (HMD) in Samsung and Oculus VR’s smartphone-based Gear VR. The tech is set to arrive this month in the USA as an Innovator’s Edition that anyone will be able to buy. But despite being available for consumers, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe insists that it is still a developer kit, much like its current iteration of the Oculus Rift PC HMD. According to the CEO, Gear VR will ‘quickly get to a mature level’.
Iribe stated as much in a recent interview with CNBC. “We are really looking at getting this out to the masses but developers first,” he said of Gear VR. “So you’ve heard Oculus focus on PC with the Rift in the past, PC VR. Now we’re also focused on the mobile market with Gear VR. This is still a developer kit, it’s still the Innovator Edition, but you’re gonna see a ton of content come and you’re gonna see this quickly get to a mature level where it’s ready for consumers to start playing with and it’s comfortable and it’s fun. And that’s what we’re targeting.”
There are still some clear signs that Gear VR is at a developer kit level despite being launched to consumers. For example, the device will be launching with a VR-dedicated digital store in Oculus Home, although it will only contain free titles at release. A premium store in which developers can charge for their work is coming but, until then, the store will largely consist of demos and other shorter experiences. That said, some studios are planning to give away entire videogames for free during this time.
Gear VR will launch at $199 USD, with a bundle containing a Samsung controller also available for $249. VRFocus will continue to follow the device in the build up to launch, reporting back with any further updates.