Yesterday Samsung held a launch event for their flagship product, the Galaxy S7. With little in the way of game changing new features, most of which were rehashes of features from previous models that were removed from the S6, the event needed a boost. So it’s unsurprising that the South Korean tech giant decided to focus on something else.
Hundreds of attendees were greeted with a free virtual reality headset waiting on their chair upon their arrival. The guests were asked to put on their VR headsets to watch a virtual reality tech demo, when they took them off Mark Zuckerberg had taken centre stage. Injecting mass hysteria into the atmosphere, causing journalists to rush to the stage like teenage girls at a One Direction concert.
Zuckerberg went on to talk about virtual reality saying “for right now, it’s mostly used for gaming. That’s quickly evolving.” He went on to say that in the not so distant future people would be able to sit around a virtual campfire, or have meetings in virtual board rooms with people in different parts of the world. His surprise entrance and served to strengthen the partnership between Oculus (owned by Facebook) and Samsung’s joint venture into the world of virtual reality. The Facebook CEO went on to compliment Samsung by saying he wants “to make Facebook the best platform for 360 video” and that Samsung are the only ones who can build OLED screens at the scale necessary to make virtual reality a part of mainstream society.
While his appearance may have completely overshadowed the launch of the S7 devices, it is also sure to boost their sales. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said “Our Oculus technology powers Samsung’s Gear VR. Tonight we announced that every pre-order of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will ship with a free Gear VR. And if you don’t pre-order, you can buy it for just $99. This means Gear VR will be in the hands of millions of people this year.”
Virtual reality for the masses is getting closer by the day. It’s no longer just for a segregated niche market of hardcore game enthusiasts who are willing to spend upwards of €600. By next year, you might be sitting in a virtual living room talking to your cousin who lives across the world.