At Oculus Connect 6, Oculus CTO John Carmack admitted that Gear VR is dead.
Samsung Gear VR is a smartphone-based virtual reality helmet. Like Google Cardboard and its plastic derivatives, the device uses a user’s smartphone, which acts as a display and a computer. Unlike Cardboard, however, it is equipped with a special gyroscope and accelerometer and runs on the same Oculus Mobile platform and store as Oculus Go.
Speaking with his annual report, Carmack noted that Gear VR is going into oblivion. This was triggered by recent news that Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 would not support VR, and speculation that the regular Galaxy S line would follow suit.
“I think we missed some opportunity here. I put a lot of effort into it, and it represents the foundation on which we built all the mobile virtual things. But looking back, it is clear that other virtual reality headsets were much more in demand. Yes, he had good reviews, people liked him. But he couldn’t provide the audience retention that Quest, Rift S, Rift, Go give us. ”
Carmack explained several ways Facebook could try to regain the popularity of Gear VR. But in the end, the company decided to focus on promoting standalone headsets that do not share the main problems of smartphone-based VR.
Is mobile virtual reality completely dead?
Gear VR’s direct competitor, Daydream, is also facing a dubious future. Google did not update the device and did not make significant updates for a year. Worse, the content flow has slowed to the point where the store has not shown the “New & Updated” category since 2018. Google has even removed its own movie service from the platform.
The recently released Pixel also does not support Daydream. Google reports that this is because the equipment is not up to the task.
Mobile virtual reality has created many problems. The time it takes to insert and remove the phone, and the fact that the user’s smartphone is unsuitable for use when connected to the headset, makes people less likely to use VR on a regular basis. A Gear VR session can also end in a few minutes, depending on the device and conditions, due to the phone’s processor reaching its thermal limits. Smartphones pack all of their components in an incredibly small space. While Samsung improves its passive cooling design almost every year, there are physical limitations that cannot be overcome only by a shell in the shape of a VR helmet worn on a device designed first as a phone.
What about the Oculus Go?
Standalone VR headsets, however, include screens and computing equipment and are designed for better cooling. Despite the fact that standalone virtual reality helmets have roughly the same graphics limitations as VR smartphones, Oculus CEO John Carmack claims that the standalone Oculus Go keeps the audience at the Rift level, while Gear VR’s performance was much lower