With competition heating up day by day, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey must be ever thankful that he took that Facebook buyout offer – he’ll need that money to beat off all newcomers, especially now that Samsung has announced it too is looking to release a VR headset with gamers in mind.
This isn’t some announcement of market interest, or the hinting at of a concept, but a fully fledged development that while not set for release this year, will be shown off in fully working order, so it’s not that far behind other companies like Oculus and Sony. In-fact, according to the Engadget report, Samsung is actually hoping to beat both of those companies to market with a consumer version that will be compatible with tablets, PCs and Android smartphones.
Currently Galaxy S5 handsets are said to be powering the device, but when it comes to the consumer release version, it will apparently require much more powerful next-gen smartphones to handle it.
The final version is said to have an OLED screen, at least of a comparable resolution to Oculus’ Rift Devkit 2 (which would give it a viewing angle of 100 degrees and a resolution of 960 x 1080). What we don’t know for sure is whether it will be wireless or not, though it seems likely a tethered cable would make sense to avoid latency issues. We also don’t know if positional tracking is on the cards, though Samsung would be foolish not to include the feature since it would give the other headsets a clear advantage.
Samsung is however, thought to be aiming for a lower price point than its rivals, which could be one of the biggest deciding factors in first-gen VR hardware adoption. It won’t be cheap of course, but if it could land in the UK with a price tag under £200, Samsung’s VR offering could very well steal a lot of market share from Oculus.
Of course though Samsung is going to have to compete against more than just Oculus. There’s Sony’s Morpheus to consider, the Chinese AntVR development, the Survios Holodeck and the True Player Gear Totem. The VR landscape is filling up fast and not all of these products are going to succeed. It will be very interesting to see how the market looks a year from now when consumer versions start landing in the laps of gamers the world over.