While Google’s Cardboard Virtual Reality headset is happy to be readily available for – almost – any smartphone and built from well, cardboard, Samsung has a more consumer-friendly product available. For use only with select Samsung products, the Gear VR has become something of a hit among Samsung fans, and with a price tag of just $99 compared to the $599 price of the Oculus Rift, it’s easy to see why. The problem with all virtual reality headsets at the moment however, is that there’s just not enough content available. Samsung has been one of the few firms to do something about this, and during the recent Sundance Film Festival, the South Korean giant announced plans to open a dedicated Virtual Reality studio in New York.
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Samsung’s Chief Marketing Office for the USA, Marc Mathieu, said that “At Samsung we love stories, and we love to help people tell stories” as he spoked to visitors of Samsung’s Gear VR showcase at the festival. During Sundance, the firm had Gear VR headsets for attendees to try out and view a brand new sketch from Funny or Die and it appeared as though the new technology was drawing quite a crowd. The Gear VR is unique among mobile-centric VR offerings as the South Korean firm teamed with Oculus themselves in order to perfect the technology, and while the device is locked to just Samsung Galaxy devices it’s affordable for those that already have a compatible device.
Marc Mathieu detailed that the new studio would start off inside offices the company already has housing a marketing team, but there could be plans to make the studio larger should it yield quality results. January isn’t finished and already it looks as if 2016 is to be a big year of VR content and providers the world over. Google recently added Spatial Audio to the Cardboard SDK, the Oculus Rift is finally available to pre-order and Sony’s Project Morpheus is making progress. It seems that content and price are the two remaining barriers for companies to conquer, and if you’re already a Samsung user, the $99 Gear VR seems to solve the price problem, now the content conundrum is next.