The Oculus Rift may be some ways down the pipeline before it reaches our hands, but gamers eager to jump into VR gaming will get their first chance this coming December, when Samsung launches its Gear VR headset in the United States.
Gear VR is designed for use with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but don’t let its mobile gaming design fool you; the unit uses software designed by Oculus VR themselves. The manner in which it integrates with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone is rather unique; the smartphone slots into a dock right in front of where your eyes would be and essentially acts as the screen.
Aside from the obligatory gaming functions, Gear VR also features a movie mode in which the unit places you in a virtual private cinema as you watch the film of your choice.
Gear VR is currently available for order via pre-registration on the Samsung website. Two versions are available to choose from: a $250 version that comes bundled with a Bluetooth gamepad, and a $199 version that comes without it.
A few apps specifically designed for use with the headset will also be put out over the next few months for free. These are called Darknet, Titans of Space, Esper, and Viral. Developers looking to create games for Gear VR can download the Oculus Mobile SDK, which includes support for:
Direct front buffer rendering
Clock frequency locking
GPU context priorities
Real-time, fine grained GPU context switching
Real-time CPU threading
Direct warped content
Customers who pre-register for Gear VR will receive their units once they ship out sometime in December.