While high-end VR gaming is becoming cheaper, especially with the launch of the Oculus Quest on the horizon, it’s still inaccessible for many gamers, hardcore or otherwise.
That’s where devices like the Samsung Gear VR come in. The cheap, $129 device bundle hooks up to a standard smartphone to power lower-end, but still immersive VR experiences.
Unfortunately, as The Verge points out, Facebook’s Oculus Connect keynote seemed to focus on three major devices: the Oculus Go, the Rift, and the new Quest. As you can tell, the Gear VR was not among them.
Given that the device’s games and apps come from the Oculus store, it would have made sense for the company to give the device some attention on-stage.
Oculus promises it isn’t completely ditching phone-based VR, though. In a statement to the Verge, Oculus’ Nate Mitchell explained the company’s approach to Gear devices:
Gear VR is still a priority. A lot of the work that we’re doing on Oculus Go carries right over to Gear VR — they’re binary compatible. So a lot of the improvements we’ve been making to the software side, a lot of the products we’ve been investing in, are coming to Gear VR as well.
…we are definitely deeply committed, though, to Go, and we really really want to make sure that it’s a huge success, and so the team has been pouring a lot of energy into that.
For better or worse, it seems that while Oculus’ focus isn’t on the ultra-low end Gear, for the time being, Oculus Go advancements should lead to progress for both devices.
Samsung smartphone owners who want to test out the Gear can pick one up via Samsung’s official website. If you’d prefer a standalone device that’s still budget-oriented, the Oculus Go will run you about $199 for the headset itself and its motion controllers.