The recent announcement of the Samsung Gear VR was surprising for two reasons. Firstly, that a primarily mobile phone and television manufacturer would adopt virtual reality (VR) so soon, and that the device was powered by Oculus technology.
However, this device is just the tip of the iceberg for Oculus, which has announced more 'Powered by Oculus' devices over the coming years.
"We have some exciting plans on the mobile VR side as the PC VR side," Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe explained in an interview with TechCrunch.
The Gear VR
The Samsung Galaxy Gear VR was announced at the IFA Berlin tech conference in early September, showcasing a remarkably developed experience in terms of both hardware and software.
With a relatively basic VR headset design using an Oculus tracking sensor, as well as the new Galaxy Note 4 phone, a gateway to accessible VR has been created.
Samsung and Oculus have clearly carefully considered headset design and functionality, with the smartphone-powered operation unique and accessible. This pairing of a basic headset containing the lenses with a powerful smartphone means VR will be relatively easy for casual consumers to adopt. Combined with Samsung's current global presence, there's no denying the headset will reach a wide audience.
What's more, with Oculus continuing to develop their main series headset there's likely to be features that make their way to both units. Similar to partnerships in the automotive industry, or even the electronics sector, this alliance is certain to be mutually beneficial.
Powered by Oculus
Samsung isn't the only 'Powered by Oculus' company, however, as further devices have been outlined over the next few years. While no details have been announced as to whether these will be mobile manufacturers or other firms, the technology sharing is certainly exciting.
"A decade from now, or even less than a decade – five, seven or eight years from now, I think you'll see a lot of devices powered by Oculus available across both mobile and PC," Mr Iribe explained.
He also went on to outline the development process of the Gear VR, and how Samsung brought the initial prototype to the company. With the efforts of John Carmack and a focused effort from the Oculus HQ, it was possible to develop the underlying mobile VR technologies.
"We're really looking at hitting the consumer market. We're very excited about what we're seeing. Sceptical about how good mobile VR could be on such a small platform. It's pretty incredible what [John Carmack has] been able to do."
As the Rift is currently one of the most well-developed headsets, with a strong software and game developer backing, a 'Powered by Oculus' future could be the best way forward for the VR industry.