In just a few short weeks Samsung’s Gear VR Innovator Edition has yielded some pretty incredible results, and it is only the beginning. Samsung’s partnership with Oculus has helped propel Mobile VR into a whole new product category that “wasn’t possible before,” says Nick DiCarlo, VP/GM of Immersive Products & Virtual Reality at Samsung. Even though the experiences with commercially available VR are “still in their early days in terms of potential,” the Gear VR is “blowing people’s minds today with what is right now the first generation a new product category.” Having honestly just tried the Gear VR myself at CES, I have to say I was pretty impressed by the quality of the experience of mobile VR. It was a lot closer to a Crescent Bay than a DK2, at least in terms of display, and the experiences were quite smooth on it.
When speaking with Nick, one of the key things he pressed was the visual quality of the 360-degree video in the Gear VR, and after seeing the Wild demo at CES I have to agree with that. Even though as he said it is still very early in the lifecycle, there are still people creating content that is completely innovative and embraces the uniqueness of the medium, which is awesome at this early stage. One of these experiences is The Recruit, a short film which, according to Nick, is the most popular piece of content on the new Milk VR platform. “The Recruit is a film that doesn’t really have the same impact on the viewer if it wasn’t [viewed] in virtual reality,” says Nick, “I don’t want to ruin the surprise but it’s an experience that is very unique to virtual reality… and that’s something very exciting to see the potential.” The Recruit was created by MetaVerse Inc. and the VR team at Samsung themselves, and is an experience meant to truly show off some of the amazing potential of VR cinematic experiences, which is an entirely new medium of filmmaking waiting to be explored.
With regards to Milk VR, Nick said that the response has been “amazing,” and that “people have just been devouring the videos.” The store launched with 30 videos in it and according to Samsung’s press conference at CES, this is only the beginning as new experiences will be uploaded daily. And while some of the content might not be up to par with experiences like The Recruit, Nick sees the potential, and channels like VR Planet and the Red Bull experiences are already taking us there. With content coming in from the NBA later this spring as well, there will be something for everyone on Milk VR soon.
Currently customers in the US can purchase the Gear VR Innovator Edition for $199 from Samsung’s website. The international release has been a bit of a moving target as of late, but Nick assured me we “might know more soon.” And an earlier speculative report from Road to VR stated that international shipping will begin “by month’s end.” The Gear VR is in a great position right now, as Nick told me, “it’s a great space to be where you are exceeding people’s expectations.” I entered the demo at CES with expectations set to
Cardboard and left with those thoroughly exceeded. It’s still early but the Gear VR is the start of something big.