Samsung said today its Gear VR virtual reality headset is now available for preorder.
The $99 device, which is powered by Oculus VR technology and works in conjunction with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6, or Galaxy S6 edge, will start shipping “as early as” November 20, according to Samsung. It will be available through Samsung.com, BestBuy.com, and Amazon.com. In addition, T-Mobile will start selling the Gear VR on November 27 in its stores and online. Other carriers have yet to specify availability.
The release of the Gear VR is expected to be a watershed moment for a technology that has been gaining plenty of public awareness in spite of the low numbers of people who have actually used it.
For some time now, people have been able to get their hands on the Gear VR Innovator Edition. The consumer version available in November is 19% lighter, and has a number of new features and improvements, including new foam cushioning and an improved touchpad.
Gear VR owners will be able to play dozens of made-for-VR games that will be released this year for the Oculus platform, as well as a variety of content created for Samsung’s Milk VR channel. In addition, Gear VR users can watch anything from Netflix’s catalog, as well as full-length films from 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate, and shorter videos from Twitch and Vimeo.
Other VR hardware, including the full-scale Oculus Rift, Sony’s PlayStation VR, and HTC’s Vive, are all expected to be available to consumers next year. A recent report from Digi-Capital predicted that VR will generate as much as $30 billion in annual revenue by 2020.DT