Samsung’s mobile virtual reality effort, the Gear VR, has been an important product to the company in terms of drumming up excitement around the company’s innovation on next-gen platforms.
Since the earliest version of the headset was first announced in 2014, we’ve seen a few largely incremental updates to the company’s VR platform. Today, we see another.
At Mobile World Congress, Samsung teased a new version of its Gear VR and while details were mostly scant, the highlight of the announcement is definitely the new handheld controller.
At this point, Samsung is really just playing catch-up to Google’s Daydream View headset which also includes a motion controller. Much like the offering from Daydream, the new Gear VR controller isn’t going to deliver the level of precision that one gets from using the controllers on the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift with Touch. The purpose of this controller is to give players a couple more methods if navigating menus via wiimote-esque gestures while also moving controls away from the side of the Gear VR which was a bit of an awkward place to have them in the first place.
Samsung has tried to push forward use of external gamepads on the Gear VR, especially for more complex titles like Minecraft, but adoption hasn’t been all that significant.
The new Gear VR will be compatible with the Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note 5, S6, S6 edge, and S6 edge+.
Samsung really didn’t give too many details out about the device in terms of pricing or availability, though the company said it would be opening up and SDK to developers in the coming weeks. This announcement was likely a bit premature but given the lack of a smartphone launch for Samsung at MWC, there was probably some need for a little VR excitement.