For the past year, Samsung’s Gear VR headset has been the most approachable virtual reality offering you could buy.
But now, the Gear VR headset is much improved — it’s 19% lighter than its predecessor — and it’s much cheaper, too. So instead of paying $US200+ for the headset, you only need to pay $US99 to own a Gear VR headset.
That’s a great deal, especially if this is your introduction to virtual reality.
I just bought the Gear VR headset. Now what?
If you’re unsure about what you’d actually do with this headset, fear not!
Facebook-owned Oculus VR, which also made the technology that powers the Gear VR headset, also introduced “Oculus Arcade” on Tuesday.
Oculus Arcade comes with 20 classic games, from “Pac-Man” to “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which you can play in a virtual arcade within your Gear VR (or Oculus Rift) headset.
Oculus also offers several made-for-VR games like “Land’s End,” from ustwo Games, the same studio that created the excellent iPhone game “Monument Valley.” You’ll find tons of VR games waiting for you in the Oculus Store.
You can also watch movies and videos in your Gear VR headset. You can literally watch everything on Netflix, including original series and documentaries, as well as any movie currently available in the “Oculus Video” catalogue, which has more than 70 feature films as well as access to thousands of videos from Vimeo and live broadcasts from Twitch.
You can also watch these videos with any friends who happen to own a Gear VR or Oculus Rift headset. With “Oculus Social,” you can choose an avatar, find your friends (via Facebook), and watch videos together — regardless of the distance between you and your friends.
If you’re looking for an escape, you can also take a look at Oculus’ great library of 200,000 photos from around the globe that offer 360º views, giving you a taste for how immersive virtual reality can feel.
Virtual reality for $US100? There’s gotta be a catch, right?
Unfortunately, yes, there is a catch to all of this.
Despite this incredible deal for a $US100 Oculus-powered VR headset, Gear VR only works with any Samsung phone released in 2015: that includes the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and Galaxy Note 5. If you don’t have one of those phones, you won’t be able to use the Gear VR headset.
If you don’t own one of the Samsung phones listed above, you’ll have to wait until early 2016 to buy an Oculus-powered VR headset. We don’t have any details about pricing or retail availibility for the first-generation Oculus Rift headset, but the company’s founder Palmer Luckey said it will cost more than $US350 — more than 3X the cost of Gear VR.
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