Samsung and Oculus have confirmed the existence of a truly portable VR product driven by the Galaxy Note 4 and, even without a date announced, it's likely that this will be the first VR headset that's released commercially, driven by software provided by Oculus. That software gives us some interesting insights into what a retail Oculus Rift may be like.
These are the four experiences that will come bundled with the hardware, provided by Oculus:
- Oculus Home is a simple interface for connecting to the Oculus Store, where you can discover, download, and launch VR content.
- Oculus Cinema is a virtual movie theater, where you can play back your favorite 2D and 3D movies in a variety of theater environments.
- Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos are experiences that allow you to playback panoramic content in VR.
We've known that Oculus has been working on a virtual reality storefront for some time, but the name "Oculus Home" is new, and soon we'll be able to buy, download and launch VR applications from within the experience itself. The ability to play your own videos from inside a virtual theater also gives the headset an interesting application that works with your own content. You're now carrying a full movie theater wherever you take your headset.
These are the sorts of experiences that will exist outside of games that may bring VR to the mainstream. We also know a number of Oculus Rift developers are bringing their games to Gear VR, including Darknet and Dreadhalls. Darknet developer E McNeill also gives some insight into the pass-through camera included on the Gear VR.
"Gear VR allows the user to turn on the Note 4's camera, bringing up a small view of the outside world within the headset. This is a convenient feature, and it does a lot to reduce the feeling of isolation that sometimes comes with VR," he wrote. "(In my nerd fantasy, I like to imagine sitting in an airplane, watching a movie on my own personal IMAX screen, and turning on the pass-through camera to pick up a drink from the flight attendant. It feels very sci-fi.)"
This is another feature that will more than likely make it into the full retail version of the Oculus Rift, and helps to offset the often isolating effects of the hardware.