Following the Samsung Gear VR announcement and the official reveal of the “deep and integrated partnership” with Oculus, the company’s CEO, Brendan Iribe, confirms that Gear VR is but one of many ‘Powered by Oculus’ devices to come.

Oculus VR CEO, Brendan Iribe

Yesterday’s announcement of Gear VR revealed ‘Powered by Oculus’ branding on the Samsung-made mobile VR headset.

‘Powered by Oculus’ means a few things for Gear VR; for one, a variation of the Oculus Tracker is built into the headset (not into the Galaxy Note 4, as previously reported). It also speaks to the software architecture that the company designed to enable a high quality VR experience that slices through many barriers that are inherent in the existing Android OS hardware/software stack. On top of this, Gear VR will use Oculus Home, a piece of software that will launch and manage VR apps on the device.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe says that Gear VR is just the beginning of VR devices that will be ‘Powered by Oculus’.

“This is something that is not ready for mass market consumers, but it will be soon, and as it is, and as it rolls out, you’ll start to see more devices powered by Oculus over the next few years,” he said. “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.”

samsung gear vr innovator edition release date 2014“Neither Iribe nor Cohen would comment on any discussions with smartphone OEMs beyond Samsung, saying they’re currently “laser-focused on Samsung,” but Iribe did concede that he believes mobile manufactures competing with the Korean company will at least want what Gear VR offers once they see how well it performs,” continues the interview.

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Iribe goes on to talk a bit about how the Samsung-Oculus relationship came to be.

“When we met with [Samsung,] they said ‘Actually, we’re happy to support VR in your products with screen technology, but we also think there’s an opportunity on mobile,’ and they brought the first prototype [of Gear VR] to the table,” Iribe recounted. “They said they’d been working on it a while, and we asked how long, and they said ‘Oh a few months,’ so it was when we made all this noise worldwide at CES that they decided to get involved.”

Work on mobile VR also played a role in John Carmack’s decision to join Oculus as CTO.

John Carmack, CTO at Oculus VR
Oculus VR CTO, John Carmack

“We showed it to John Carmack, and he got super excited and said basically ‘I think there’s real potential here and I’d like to dedicate my next few years to making this a reality because I really believe in the whole mobile VR untethered world,’” Iribe told TechCrunch.

It was clearly heard yesterday in Carmack’s voice how excited he was about being able to finally talk about Gear VR after the work that he and the mobile team at Oculus had put into the project.

“I’m really excited to finally be able to talk about this, it’s been a secret project for too long. So I’ve dedicated the last year of my life to making the best mobile VR system possible and I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” Carmack said on stage during the Samsung Gear VR announcement.

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You can watch and read the rest of Carmack’s Gear VR presentation here.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Andrés

    The title is missing a word after “You’ll”.

    • Ben Lang

      Thanks for spotting, that’s what I get for juggling headlines up to the last minute! >_<

  • George

    Sounds like Carmack is really focused on mobile VR. I hope that his focus doesn’t detract from the Rift.

    • seanlumly

      Arguably mobile provides a more flexible platform than wired-only, and Carmack expressed this sentiment directly (though I can’t remember where — perhaps the Samsung IFA keynote). A mobile device can function independently, but it can also act as a VR display for a computer with the right high-bandwidth cable. I wouldn’t be surprised if mobile was the default direction for Oculus going forward.

      This would also hold true if a phone’s display wasn’t the VR display.

  • illuzion

    I find it refreshing and admirable that Oculus can put aside the tunnel vision towards their own products to focus on what is really best for getting VR off the ground. Its also incredibly smart to work with other companies that could be seen as competition as all the innovation, testing and products exposed to market act as a testing ground without having to learn by trial and error releasing your own products.

    I think Oculus have been incredibly smart here, they just have to be careful that they don’t make a better product for someone else or it will hurt cv1 sales.
    Exciting times ahead!

  • NathanSD

    Licensing might be best way to further the “cause” of VR and line OR’s pockets.

    Mobile, makes sense from the perspective of no tethering to a desktop or bulky laptop. If the graphics and response capabilities are there. Batteries are the problem.

    OR seems to be planning an software “ecosystem” for the GearVR, if this is extended across all OR licensed headsets, this might be the best way to capitalize. Let others do the hardware finishing (making it “pretty”), and OR lives off licensing fees for R&D and for expanding their ecosystem. Does this not sound like Valves business model to some extent?

    With this in mind… is it possible that we never see an OR branded, not licensed, branded headset?

    The next question is who is next? Apple? Microsoft? Who licenses the OR tech next?

    I also wonder if this was a response to the Sony’s Morpheus release… the more platforms, the more Sony techis isolated.

  • Slashee the Cow

    Coming soon: Google Cardboard, Powered by Oculus?

    • Curtrock

      LMAO :) ^^^^^^^^^^

  • hminth

    the illusion of choice?

    btw about mobile – i’d be concerned about putting it that close to my head for, lets say 90 minutes for a movie. – best streamed via wireless internet connection. did noone speculate about the chance of brain damage?

  • Waxel

    Sony project morpheus powered by oculus :)