Samsung CMO: 'Virtual reality is the new apps' as new headset launches

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 24 September 2014

Virtual reality is going to be “the new apps” according to Samsung CMO Arno Lenior, who launched the tech giant's virtual reality headset Gear VR to the Australian market yesterday.

Samsung has licensed the Oculus virtual reality platform for mobile and it will go on sale for consumer in November priced at $249.

The Gear VR uses the technology within Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 handset, also launched to the Australian market yesterday. The phone clips in to a set of wireless goggles, transforming the mobile device into a virtual reality headset, controlled using a touchpad on the side.

Big in the nineties, virtual reality has taken some time to evolve and remains on the fringes of tech and gaming. But Lenior reckons that within months it will edge towards the mainstream. VR “will be the new apps” as content quickly becomes available, he claimed.

The Oculus VR content store – an equivalent of smartphone app stores - will roll out in coming weeks so consumers can buy access to content experiences created by brands.

Samsung is already in discussions with movie houses Marvel and Universal to create content for the Samsung mobile virtual reality platform.

Samsung demonstrated the virtual reality device with a series of content options. A 360 degree travel experience that transported users to mountaintops, New York's skyline, and a safari. A Cirque du Soleil execution put the wearer on stage within a circus performance. There was a spaceship game, an underwater Great Barrier Reef shark dive experience and a cinema setting that put the wearer inside a movie theatre watching a film.

For that application, users can create their own content on the Galaxy Note 4 and watch it as if in a movie theatre.

Lenior echoed comments commonly made around virtual reality that the most obvious commercial opportunities lie within real estate, travel and tourism and entertainment.

Lenior added that it offers Oculus quality technology on a mobile device for the first time, adding that it bridges the gap between Google's Cardboard device which transforms smartphones into a VR headset and the full Oculus.

The cost also removes a barrier to entry for both consumers and brands, claimed Lenior, adding that Samsung's telco partners are likely to push deals bundling the headsets with purchases or new contracts on the Galaxy Note for minimal extra cost.

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