Well here’s a surprise. Oculus’ John Carmack on Wednesday said the first consumer version of Oculus won’t be an actual standalone headset, but part of Samsung’s upcoming Gear VR lineup. Wait, what?
You heard that right; rather than releasing a fancy headset similar to its DK2, the company says the first taste consumers will get of Oculus VR will be with (probably) the Galaxy Note 5 and whatever Gear VR vessel Samsung builds. Barring any major breakthroughs, the headset will likely be no better than what Gear VR is right now, and not necessarily a huge game-changer as Oculus has promised in the past.
We’ve seen a lot of emphasis on VR over the past few days, with HTC/Valve and Sony all talking about what to expect over the next 12 months. By all accounts, the HTC Vive is the frontrunner, though Sony’s revamped Morpheus is another VR experience to lookout for. So what’s the deal with Oculus’ headset? It sounds like the company right now is focused on “trying to sell as many units as possible,” according to Carmack.
Oculus was apparently very surprised by the reception and success of Samsung’s Gear VR, which is why it chose to go down this route. The headset likely won’t be able to demonstrate everything Oculus’ technology can do, though it will give consumers a clear idea of what to expect.
It’s a bold—and surprising—business decision for Oculus to back its partnership with Samsung; people already want Samsung products, so why not have the Korean company help push the future of VR? There will be some big competition, however. The HTC Vive is expected to launch later this year, while Morpheus should be available early 2016.