Oculus CTO John Carmack confirmed that an official screen capture solution is on the way to Samsung’s Gear VR headset, pending a future update, in response to a question on Twitter.
It isn’t clear whether or not ‘screen capture’ means the capability to capture photo and video, though we assume (and hope) Carmack means both based on the wording of the initial question
Currently there isn’t any particular easy way to capture photos or videos of the action happening inside the Samsung Gear VR headset. This makes it difficult for people like developers or game streamers to show what it’s like to experience games and apps with the headset.
Because of the high resource demands for virtual reality on mobile, unofficial recording solutions often end up introducing judder to an otherwise smooth Gear VR experience. The result is an occasionally choppy video and a less comfortable experience for the user at the time of recording. It would be hoped that an official solution would be able to avoid this by being designed with performance considerations in mind, but ultimately that may mean putting limits on the capture quality or simply issuing a catchall disclaimer that gameplay performance while recording may be sub optimal.
Carmack says he expects screen recording functionality in the next ‘System Activities’ update, a component of the Gear VR software platform which can be updated independently of the games and apps in a user’s Gear VR library. It isn’t clear exactly when that will happen, but when it does, the video recording functionality will only support apps compiled with the Oculus Mobile SDK v1.0, as Carmack notes.
A screen capture button would be an ideal fit for Gear VR’s universal menu which can be called up by holding the back button in most apps.
In the mean time, we have a handy guide for an unofficial method of Gear VR screen recordings including HQ audio voiceover commentary.