You can pre-order Samsung's virtual reality headset that's powered by Oculus for $99
It's been a long time coming, but virtual reality is finally moving out of the realm of early adopters and developers and into the real world.
As of Tuesday, anyone can now pre-order Samsung's Gear VR consumer edition, which is the virtual reality headset Samsung designed in collaboration with virtual reality pioneer Oculus. You can pre-order the device over at Amazon, Best Buy, or Samsung, and it'll ship out starting November 20th.
Even better? Samsung's Gear VR only costs $99, though you'll need to own one of Samsung's flagship phones in order to power the headset. While upcoming VR headsets from Oculus, Valve, and Sony will require a standalone computer or game console to generate the virtual environment, Samsung's Gear VR lets you slot a smartphone into the front of the headset instead. If you have a Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6+, or Galaxy Note 5 you'll be all set.
Compared to the earlier, developer-focused versions called the Gear VR Innovator Edition, the consumer-focused Gear VR is largely the same. It's now 19% lighter, features an improved touchpad that makes finding the headset's controls much easier while you're immersed in VR, and Samsung says the ergonomics are better too, so it'll be more comfortable.
Of course, the biggest question is what you'll actually be able to do with the thing, and thankfully Samsung and Oculus have a decent collection of games, experiences, and videos that are already available.
There's games like "Land's End," created by the same app studio behind the wildly popular "Monument Valley" game, and "Herobound," which "Zelda" fans will enjoy for the similar hack-and-slash gameplay.
You can also step into a virtual movie theater and play trailers or your own movie collection thanks to the Oculus Video app, and you can also watch Netflix in VR if you have an account or free trial.
For a dose of nostalgia, you can check out Oculus Arcade, which puts you in front of a virtual arcade that has over 20 old-school games like Pac-Man, Gauntlet, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Most of the VR experiences are designed to be controlled via the headset's touch controls and your own head movements as the Gear VR doesn't include a controller out of the box. But for more complex games like "Herobound," you can easily use a third-party Bluetooth controller as well.