Samsung and Oculus haven't pushed the Gear VR too hard just yet — but that's going to change later in 2015. Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack just said that the formal strategy for his company is to put all of Samsung's considerable marketing muscle around Gear VR later this year, during Samsung's next big release cycle. "We've got a plan now, we've got a date, you can mark this in the calendars," Carmack said. "Oculus is going forward as hard as we can, trying to sell as many units as possible with the next Gear VR."
Carmack noted that he couldn't discuss unannounced Samsung products — but then said that history has shown Samsung has two big releases per year. During the next one Gear VR would receive the full weight of Samsung's considerable marketing and product strategy muscle. Given that Samsung just had its first big announcement of the year with the Galaxy S6, it sounds like the next Galaxy Note launch in the fall will be when we see Gear VR to have its full formal launch as a consumer product.
Get ready for Samsung's full marketing muscle to be unleashed behind Gear VR
Timing the Gear VR's formal consumer launch alongside a new Galaxy Note 5 is entirely logical — the first Gear VR was built to work with the Note 4. Carmack noted that Samsung and Oculus could have "gone wide" with the first Gear VR, from a hardware perspective, but he felt that the software and content was just not up to the standard the company wanted, hence the marketing of Gear VR as an "innovator edition." But despite the somewhat unfinished state of Gear VR, Carmack said that Oculus has been delighted with the response so far. While he acknowledged the lack of compelling content thus far, he said there's still something great about being able to pull a Gear VR out of your backpack and let your friends try it and see them "get the Oculus face" for the first time.
When talking about what we can expect from Samsung's launch of Gear VR this year, Carmack made it sound like we'll see the usual Samsung ad blitz, as well as the possibility of Gear VR headsets in cell phone stores around the world so consumers can try it for themselves. As for the Oculus PC VR head set, Carmack wasn't willing to give a real timeline for when that might launch — but he did tell developers that if they're getting apps and games ready for Gear VR's formal launch, they should be getting their software ready for the full PC gaming experience as well. It sounds like 2016 could be the year when the recent VR revolution finally makes its way to a wide consumer audience.