Rumours surrounding a new VR Headset from the electronics giant Samsung circulated recently, originally reported by Engadget. At the time, the angle was Samsung entering the market to compete with Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift. Now, the rumour has switched tack, primarily to that of Oculus collaborating with Samsung on a device specifically focussed towards media consumption rather than gaming.

It’s no secret Oculus are investing R&D into a fully mobile, Android based version of the Oculus Rift along with a mobile focussed SDK. In fact, Palmer Lucky, the inventor if the Rift confirmed its continuing development in Reverend Kyle’s SVVR ‘Ubercast’ on this very site just recently. However, no hint that Oculus even had plans to fire up partnerships such as this has ever been forthcoming, which would usually make us rather suspicious of such rumours.

Except that, the partnership details actually make some compelling sense. Engadget states that the arrangement is ostensibly an exchange. Oculus is to give Samsung early access to its current mobile SDK (and presumably some help with implementation and integration, although this isn’t specifically mentioned) and in return, Samsung gives Oculus first dibs on its cutting-edge, high resolution mobile display panels plus UI/UX help, presumably for integration into Oculus’ own software offerings.

Gameface Labs' 4th Prototype with a 2.5k Samsung LCD Panel
Gameface Labs’ 4th Prototype with a 2.5k Samsung LCD Panel

It’s well known that one of the hurdles the consumer Rift faces is finding an OLED panel capable of low persistence of vision, a high refresh rate (90+Hz) and that’s also high enough in resolution to provide the consumer Rift with a pleasing image. Reducing screen door effect as far as possible whilst increasing available image detail puts Oculus at the very bleeding edge of display technology. A partnership with the leader in this field would be an incredibly smart proposition for both companies and could mean that Oculus can deliver on its hopes for a consumer edition hitting the market more speedily, post Oculus’ Facebook acquisition.

We reported recently they Gameface labs’ 4th mobile VR Headset prototype was sporting a 2560x1440p panel.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s VR Headset seems to be developing into more of an accessory for your existing Samsung mobile phone. i.e. The imaging and processing duties are handled by your phone with the headset attaching (presumably for feeding extra orientation information) to your phone via USB. Something that the chaps at Gameface might raise an eyebrow at, but I doubt something that would worry them in the long term. However, the Avegant team may well feel differently, given the media focus of their device.

If and when we find more concrete details on the story we’ll of course let you know. But for now, treat the story as an intriguing and plausible rumour.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • Chris Given

    Earlier I predicted a partnership between Oculus and Sony but this would make even more sense for Oculus in that Samsung is on the bleeding edge of screen tech… What with paper thin bendable screens and the advent of graphene to be used in these screens soon if not already… Oculus has what Samsung and Sony needs and that’s the best software to drive the devices and if they made a deal with one or both of them for that software it would be a great thing because then we would have a standard which is what is really needed here!! Lets all hope they can work together as opposed to against one another and all will benefit from it!!



    • snake0

      HA. Remember me, bitch?
      Who was the one that said
      a) Samsung were not Oculus’ competitor and
      b) Samsung would only ever create a MEDIA device, not a gaming one.

      Let me cut you off a piece of this warm humble pie while you wipe the egg off your face.

      Also, I told you so.