Samsung is working on a standalone VR HMD (untethered, no phone required) which is a few years away. It might be a direct competitor to Rift (since it will have positional tracking and hand input), which means that Oculus might part ways with Samsung, which will leave us, developers of Gear VR apps / games, hanging.
That makes me wonder about feasibility and practicality developing stuff for Gear VR using UE4 (or any engine for that matter). Both Oculus and Epic swear that they have a lot of things planned for Gear VR, yet there are so many basic things that aren’t implemented yet and who knows when they will, if ever (in light of Samsung’s announcement)
Well, it might not be abandoned completely, if Samsung and Oculus decide to part ways, but it might receive less support (not like it has overwhelming support at this time anyway). And it might not receive any positional tracking and input.
Likewise, if Oculus pulls out, its SDK goes out of the window. Whatever Samsung brings in the future (if anything at all, since their current mobile SDK isn’t even in UE4 in any form or shape) might not be as robust and dev friendly as Oculus’. There are a lot of ifs and concerns, but at this point it’s all speculation based on the news and the way things are with Gear VR currently.
I currently developer for VR, and it is an exciting time. Sure there is risk, but with great risk - comes great reward (to the lucky and crazy ones)!!
GearVR is a good platform, and it may eventually become widespread enough that most Android phones would use such a system. As it is built on Android, it falls under the Apache Licence - meaning any other manufacturer can use similar API’s without too much of a hastle.
Independent VR solutions seem to be a better fit, but having a separate device seems clunky. It already feels like a 90’s Gameboy, so less is definitely more.
If for example Samsung release an S8 with stereo cameras, then positional tracking may be possibly, and even hand tracking. The acceleration of VR tech makes me hopeful for mid 2017. This means you have 1 year to work on something special. Another 5 billion people will join the smartphone market by 2020 - so that’s then totally the whole planet.
Samsung has a better chance using the screens from their smartphones, as mass production allows some epic market maneuvers. Consider what Fairchild Semiconductor did with the original transistor, sold it below cost then upscale production and that resulted in production cost reductions to the point of making 90% profit.
Don’t be like that… Its just that this is the first modern evolution of VR, and it takes time to gain traction.
The current models are like the original Xbox, and it’ll take a Xbox-360 for consumers to really get on-board.
But if you’re working in a company / lab right now and have access to several VR kits then it is super exciting.
Its equally true if you’re getting good money to build VR applications for things like Travel or Property-Sales etc.
But banking on any one particular model and hoping consumers buy in is filled with risks… You know that!
The world economy isn’t booming right now, and VR isn’t being factored into a whole lot of big game releases.
But take solace in the fact that VR will be huge. So you’re going to be way out in front from having gotten in early!