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Gear VR: Samsung discontinues virtual reality platform, you can do that now

A few years ago it was still a big topic, but “Mobile VR” is slowly coming to an end. After Google said goodbye to its own Google Daydream in autumn 2019 and only marginally incorporated the aspect of virtual reality via smartphone into its own AR efforts, Samsung is now following suit. You will no longer be able to use the Samsung Gear VR VR glasses for your own blockbuster smartphones as usual in the foreseeable future. The Korean company does not want to pursue the system any further. But what does that mean for you?

The end was already looming

The company Oculus VR, which belongs to Facebook, designed together with Samsung Gear VR, but also its own systems Oculus Go, Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest. As early as 2019, the company announced that it would no longer support Gear VR. In doing so, the VR experts sealed the end of Gear VR. Samsung no longer integrated its VR ecosystem into the Samsung Galaxy S20 or Note 10. And now everything goes very quickly ...

Those responsible draw the final line in several steps. As of now, you can no longer upload 360-degree videos, and Samsung XR and Samsung VR video clients will no longer receive any updates.

As of June 30, 2020, Samsung will remove the Samsung VR video app from the Oculus Store, which means: You can no longer access it from the Oculus Go, Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest.

Will the Gear VR be unusable from autumn 2020?

From September 30, 2020, the Samsung XR, i.e. the entire VR video platform, will be over. The manufacturer deactivates all accounts and also deletes these files. Content that you have uploaded yourself disappears completely. If you install the VR video app beforehand, access to all offline functions (including 360-degree video sideloading) is still provided. After all.

But: You will no longer be able to use the Samsung XR app, which you ultimately need for all essential VR content, from September 30th. The application can then no longer be downloaded from the Galaxy Store or the Google Play Store.

Oculus VR, primarily responsible for the Gear VR software, does not want to offer updates for the essential components of Gear VR. This also affects the Oculus browser, the alternative Samsung Internet has been out of date for a long time anyway. So we're talking about potential security risks when using it. As of September 15, 2020, developers will no longer be able to publish new apps for Gear VR. That means: there will soon be no more software supplies.

Nevertheless, it should not be a problem for some time to use the Gear VR offline and with, for example, purchased apps. It is similar with Google Daydream: There is nothing new, but peripherals are not a case for plastic waste, at least for the time being. Samsung has not yet given exact details about the final end.

Are there alternatives to the Samsung Gear VR?

Mobile VR has been a hype topic since 2014, created among other things by Google Cardboard, but also Samsung's attractive headset. In the end it was all very nice, sometimes really impressive, but not fun for weeks of entertainment. In some cases, only the more ambitious solutions such as PlayStation VR for the PlayStation 4 or systems intended for PCs such as Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive (Pro) or the new Valve Index can do this.

There are no serious alternatives to Gear VR in the low price segment, because Samsung glasses require a Galaxy S smartphone, but otherwise cost around 100 euros. VR headsets that function independently and do not require a powerful PC are more expensive. In terms of performance and what's on offer, the still available Oculus Go comes very close to Gear VR. Another class better is the powerful, but also relatively expensive Oculus Quest. Yes, unfortunately there is no longer much choice.

What's next at Samsung? Almost a year ago it was said that they were working on solutions that combine VR and augmented reality. The experiences of Gear VR would flow into this. But the group does not provide precise facts. Will there be VR glasses again in the future? I am not assuming that.

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