Samsung Working with Oculus on their VR Headset
In late May, we heard that Samsung was not only prepared to enter the VR headset market with their own headset, but that their headset might actually be the first to hit the market, ahead of both the Oculus Rift, and Sony’s Project Morpheus. It was also assumed at the time that the Samsung VR headset would be a direct competitor with the Oculus; certainly more so than with the Morpheus, as like the Oculus, Samsung’s VR isn’t expected to support the PlayStation 4, or any other video game system.
Yet in a surprising turn of events, it’s been revealed that Oculus and Samsung are actually working together on the headset, and that it will not be a direct competitor to the Rift. Instead the Samsung headset will be targeting a more casual audience, with a media-focused approach. While the headset will still have a focus on games, it will not be exclusively branded as a gaming headset, as the Rift is.
The partnership helps explain how Samsung plans to get their headset off the factory line and onto store shelves first, despite being at a seemingly steep disadvantage in terms of R&D and development progress. Oculus will actually be supplying the software that will power the headsets, while Samsung takes care of the hardware, so Samsung has essentially bypassed the entirety of that long, arduous development process and simply turned the reins over to someone who’s already gone through it (or rather, is going through it).
What does Oculus get out of the partnership? For their software expertise, Samsung in turn will supply Oculus with next generation OLED screens for their Rift, screen that are said to eclipse 1080p in quality and will also find their way onto future Samsung phones. All in all, the deal sounds beneficial to both parties, and consumers.
Speaking of those Samsung phones, like Sony’s Project Morpeus, which will only be used with their PlayStation 4 system, it appears Samsung’s headset will only make use of media through Samsung phones or other mobile devices, though details on all the exact specifics of what the headset will play and how are still scarce.
There are some fears that Samsung rushing to market first with an inferior VR experience that only plays mobile games, which aren’t exactly the pinnacle of gaming experiences, could do more harm than good for the industry, which is still in a state of consumer caution despite the optimism over the advances in VR. Yet thanks to Oculus, it appears they will be in a position to do just that, for better or worse.