Samsung’s Gear VR is now two years running, and the Korean giant’s decision to partner with Facebook’s Oculus to make virtual reality happen for Samsung customers has proven a remarkable feat indeed. Oculus is at the very front of the VR scene, with probably the best graphics that can be seen in a VR headset at this time. Samsung’s decision to partner with Oculus (and Facebook’s decision to partner with Samsung) is a winner, but Samsung has not dabbled as much into improving the user experience with gaming controllers. The company also decided to give away the headset as a promo for its Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, and this decision has paid big dividends (figuratively and literally).
Yes, Samsung unveiled a Gear VR gamepad before that didn’t exactly work with Gear VR. The Innovators’ Edition Gamepad that came as a free gift for buying the first VR headset compatible with the Galaxy Note 4 was a universal Bluetooth controller that worked with just about any gaming handset. While this may seem to be a generous thing indeed, it presents problems for Samsung’s experience: customers often have problems with Bluetooth pairing the controller with the headset. Fortunately, Samsung is ramping up its efforts to bring an even more exclusive experience to Gear VR, one that is far better than what we’ve seen (which has already been marvelous). The new addition to Gear VR is Samsung’s new Gear VR gamepad that has leaked courtesy of a New Zealand tech site.
The site in question has shown a few photos of the new gamepad, which has one analog joystick (not two, as is the case on serious gaming controllers such as the MOGA Pro Power), along with four circular buttons to the far right and a small button in-between. Additionally, Samsung will market both its brand and Oculus’s on the controller, and the Oculus branding on the headset and the gaming controller indicates that Gear VR is something of a budget-friendly Oculus headset (as I’ve said somewhere else). There’s an LED light on the game controller that lets you know if the controller is paired with your smartphone or if the battery in the device is fully charged or low on power. A Bluetooth sync button sits atop the controller, and the device itself is made of matte plastic with textured buttons (and glossy action buttons) and a textured back as well. You can also attach the new game controller to the VR headset, if you don’t intend to use it for certain games (which lets you play games with and without a controller with ease).
We don’t know the price of the game controller (the source doesn’t know this either), but what we do know is that Samsung is looking to bring a new Gear VR headset to market courtesy of the Korean giant’s decision to adopt USB Type-C charging into the upcoming Galaxy Note 7 edge that should be announced in early to mid August. Gear VR will have to have a new phone port, thus a new VR headset. It’s likely that we’ll see the new controller arrive then. In the meantime, diehard VR gamers, just ride out the waiting time.