This morning, Samsung announced the Gear VR, a virtual reality headset built in tandem with Oculus Rift, the virtual reality pioneers who were recently purchased by Facebook for two billion dollars. This announcement came with two very important hitches: First, Samsung hasn't announced a price for the Gear VR yet, which is probably a sign that it will be prohibitively expensive. Second, the Gear VR only works with the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 4—you plug the phone into the headset, making the phone the screen you're looking into. But Samsung does seem to be investing into the future of virtual reality; a number of game designers are developing for Samsung.
Virtual reality seems to be the next big thing—Google's already trying to make it affordable and fun—but the important question is whether there's a real demand for virtual reality, or if tech companies are simply trying to make it the next big thing. Virtual reality might be another 3-D-movie-style craze, in which tech companies invested in (and movie theaters were basically forced to buy into) a technology that they believe to be the future. Even though movie audiences are very clearly rejecting 3-D, there's so much money invested in digital projection that film production companies and theater chains will continue to foist it on the filmgoing public. Or since we're talking about consumer technology here, maybe 3-D TVs are a better analogy? Televisions with 3-D were supposed to be all the rage, until nobody bought them.
Or maybe people really want VR goggles. Mark Zuckerberg seems to think that's the case, and he also seems to think that VR has applications beyond just gaming. I'm not a gamer, but I could see gamers being really into the Oculus Rift (as long as they fix any potential conjunctivitis-related issues), though I'm not sure if it would become a real platform or just another gaming fad. What do you think?