Last year saw Oculus VR and Samsung finally introduce the consumer version of the anticipated mobile-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), Gear VR. The kit, which runs with Samsung’s latest smartphones, cost just $99 USD, making it incredibly affordable for anyone that did own one of those handsets. At the time, this was considered to be a significant step forward to bringing VR tech to the mainstream. According to Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey, this week’s news of free Gear VRs for those buying Samsung’s newest devices is another ‘huge step’ towards that adoption.
Luckey said as much on Twitter this week, writing: “This is a huge step for mainstream adoption of VR. This is going to multiply the VR userbase by many times!” For those that haven’t heard, Samsung is offering free Gear VR units to those that pre-order the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge flagship smartphones. Those that take advantage of this offer will also get the handsets three days early on 8th March 2016. Oculus VR, meanwhile, is offering content bundles worth $50 USD to get customers straight into VR.
“As we bring more people to the Oculus ecosystem, developers become more successful, leading to more content for everyone!” Luckey concluded.
On top of making VR accessible to millions, Samsung is also hoping to take 360 degree video to the mainstream with the launch of Gear 360, a VR camera that can shoot in panoramic view and then allow users to view content in a variety of ways, including within the Gear VR itself.
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