Facebook’s Oculus Finally Ships First Consumer Product: Samsung Gear VR
Mark Zuckerberg's big bet on virtual reality gets its first test with $99 Samsung headset.
Oculus, the virtual reality startup that Facebook bought for $2 billion in 2014, is finally launching a consumer product. Sort of.
The long-awaited Oculus headset won’t be available until the first quarter of 2016, but Oculus technology is powering the Samsung Gear VR unit that is shipping today.
“Our mission with Oculus is empower you to experience anything, anywhere with anyone,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Now, you can begin to step into a world with thousands of immersive videos, movies and games with Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 5 phones.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook are placing a big bet that virtual reality will catch on with the public. During the company’s third quarter earnings call, he said VR is an inevitable next step.
“The reason we’re excited in this space is the continued progression of people getting richer and richer ways to share what’s on their mind. Ten years ago it was text,” he said. “Now it’s mostly visual and photos, then primarily video and we’re seeing huge growth there, but that is not the end of the line. Immersive 3D content is the obvious next thing after video.”
Facebook is already making an effort to get more of such content into people’s News Feeds, this month making it possible to view 360-degree video on iOS devices and starting to test 360-degree video ads.
That content is also viewable on the $99 Gear VR.
Here’s Zuckerberg’s full post:
The headset is currently sold by Amazon here, where it’s already the top selling device in 3D viewing glasses and sold out (a previously released older “Innovator” edition is available. Best Buy also sells it, though it’s sold-out online. Samsung is also selling the headset direct, where it still has stock with 7-10 day shipping time.