Samsung Gear VR pricing arrives; is it too high?
Samsung’s Unpacked 2 event in the days leading up to IFA 2014 revealed a whole bunch of new hardware from the company, with the Note 4 front and center. As expected, we saw a lot of related products, including the debut of the Gear VR. Like a fancier Google Cardboard, the headset pairs the quad HD display and processing power of the Note 4 with a series of lenses to create an immersive virtual experience. We learned that sales would begin later this year, and that carriers were even interested, but Samsung wasn’t being too forthright with a price tag; just how much would this accessory cost? Well, we may finally have that answer today, and it’s little on the high end of things, with the Gear VR reported to sell for just about $200.
At least, that’s what Samsung spokespeople have been saying to attendees of New York’s Fashion Week, of all places. The quite robust-looking build quality of the Gear VR sure suggested to us that it wouldn’t be a cheap impulse buy, but we’re not too sure about a $200 sticker price, either.
After all, what is the Gear VR? It doesn’t have its own display. All graphics processing and game logic is handled by the Note 4. Really, it’s some lenses and a few sensors. Is that worth $200?
Well, the full-blown Oculus Rift dev kit is $350. For that price, it includes its own display (OK, the Note 3’s, but it’s built right in, is the point), not to mention an external multi-axis camera-based tracking system. While that means that it’s clearly not built for mobile use, it also makes the Rift a lot more flexible of a VR platform.
In the end, it will come down to how well Samsung is able to appeal to shoppers. But we can’t help but think that at $100 this could have been an easy decision for Note 4 buyers (especially any with even a passing interest in gaming), while a $200 price tag puts a lot more pressure on Samsung to ensure that there’s a rich ecosystem of Gear VR-supporting software and media to justify the cost of admission.