The launch of the Galaxy Note 10/10+ marked the possible end of Gear VR – a mobile VR feature that has been part of Samsung’s Galaxy flagship smartphones for many years. It was born out of a partnership between Samsung and Oculus (now a Facebook subsidiary) and made its debut on the Galaxy Note 4 in 2014.
Neither of the companies has offered any explanation for the platform’s apparent demise so far. However, Oculus CTO John Carmack shared some of his thoughts about Gear VR during his day two keynote and an impromptu fireside chat at the just-concluded Oculus Connect developer conference in San Jose, California. Referring to his comments as a eulogy for Gear VR, he called the phone-based VR headset a missed opportunity.
“It is probably time for me to give a bit of a eulogy for Gear VR. While the software is supported, the days are numbered. And I do think we missed an opportunity here,” Carmack told the audience. He mentioned the sales of Gear VR were more than all other Oculus headsets, but customers didn’t use them much due to, among other things, lack of simplicity and concerns over battery life, etc.
Carmack also reportedly hinted that Samsung wanted Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) tracking and built-in cameras in Gear VR headsets, but Oculus pushed back citing performance and thermal issues. As things stand now, it appears Gear VR is dead, although Samsung has reiterated its commitment to AR and VR on many occasions.