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It looks as if the virtual reality revolution is getting closer. Despite some eyebrows being raised at the Oculus Rift’s $600 price tag, it’s been reported that pre-sales for the headset are much higher than expected, and, most telling, every day brings news of another tech giant investing millions into the field. The latest company to increase its focus on VR is Samsung, which has just announced that it is opening a New York studio to produce new immersive experiences.
The Korean firm revealed its plans at the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah. It didn’t reveal much information about the new VR production studio, other than saying it would be located in an existing Samsung office already inhabited by a marketing team, according to Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer of Samsung USA.
In addition to the New York studio announcement, Samsung also revealed it has formed a year-long partnership with the Sundance Institute, the organization behind the film festival. The collaboration is designed to promote and develop new filmmaking talent and creative opportunities. In all likelihood, we can expect to see some more VR movie content to come from this partnership.
"At Samsung we love stories," Mathieu said. "And we love to help people tell stories."
Samsung set up a showcase at the festival for people to try out its Gear VR headset, which was built in collaboration with Oculus. Anyone with a compatible Galaxy smartphone, such as the Note 5 and S6 edge, can use the Gear VR, which is available for under $100. Until dedicated headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are released, Samsung’s device is said to produce the best consumer virtual reality experience available today.
While most of the content for the upcoming VR headsets does seem to be aimed at gamers, an increasing number of companies are realizing virtual reality’s potential when it comes to TV and movies. Last year, Oculus revealed its in-house Oculus Story Studio division which is tasked with researching and creating virtual reality movies.
Samsung isn't the only company to pour extra resources into the VR field over the last week. On Friday, Apple’s hiring of a top virtual reality expert suggested that it was also increasing its focus on VR/AR development.