December 2014 saw Samsung and Oculus VR’s anticipated new smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), Gear VR, launch in the USA. Ever since that release VR enthusiasts around the world have wondered when the device might launch in their territories. Certain countries in Europe have already seen a quiet release via their respective official Samsung online stores. Today finally sees such a launch take place in the UK. Gear VR can now be ordered directly from the official Samsung UK website.
The kit is available for £199 GBP as a bundle with Samsung’s wireless Bluetooth Android controller, which works with Android smartphones. A controller-free version is also available for £169. Both versions of the kit are listed as in stock, although there isn’t any information about when it will ship.
Despite its release outside of the USA, Gear VR owners are still awaiting the launch of a premium option for the Oculus VR Store that hosts all compatible content. Currently the storefront is filled with free experiences including demos, videos and, in rare cases, full videogames. Oculus VR itself has said that the international rollout of Gear VR and the launch of the premium store aren’t linked, meaning that paid for content could hit the USA before it arrives worldwide.
Those picking up a Gear VR should note that the kit only works with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 enlarged smartphone. That said, VRFocus recently learned that a new version of the HMD will be arriving with support for the company’s unannounced Galaxy S6 flagship handset. A completely new iteration of the device with positional tracking support is also said to be on the way. VRFocus will continue to follow Gear VR closely, reporting back with any further updates on the kit.