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Samsung & Facebook Bring Digital Addiction to the Masses

Retailing for USD99, the Gear VR splits open to dock the smartphone in front of its dual optics, it gets the processing power via a microUSB connection. Sure, this makes a heavier virtual reality headset than the standalone Oculus rift version (which doesn’t have to hold a full mobile in the face of the wearer), but the pricing is very attractive (if you already own a Samsung smartphone that is).

In fact, with this low-cost VR headset gear, reaching the right price tag for the yet to come Oculus rift (at least USD300 according to a report last week from PC Gamer) will be a balancing act, considering the Gear VR market is potentially much bigger than the standalone VR headset version.

Both companies have announced partnerships with Twentieth Century Fox and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to bring movies to Gear VR and Facebook in particular is keen to have its users confined into 360-degree youtube videos directly from its newsfeeds.

Forget about real human interactions. For those smartphone-obsessed who still have to pretend something important is happening on their tiny screen to ignore their peers, the Gear VR will free you from acting altogether.

The digital candy of fantastic worlds or the virtual exploration of remote cities through 3D streetview walks will keep you busy enough to make direct eye contact with another human being a thing of the past.

3D advertising placement is certainly on the agenda within this new layer of digital confinement, but that would only be an extension of today’s marketing practices.

When movie theaters will have gone, replaced by the anti-social commodity of home cinemas or VR headsets, and when even the odd family movie won’t be shared on the same screen, will there be an app or a virtual movie theater place where to join others watching the same movie, just to pretend we are still social animals?

Article originally posted on EE Times Europe.

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