Samsung Pushes VR in the U.K.

Company will offer up free VR content to new Gear VR owners

In a push for further adoption of virtual reality in the U.K., Samsung Electronics Europe May 16 announced it would offer free VR content to new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge customers who purchase the Samsung Gear VR headset.

Available via the online Oculus Store, the bundled games and VR videos include the usually paid-for Anshar Wars 2, Drift, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Ocean Rift and Starchart.

“Our Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are performing extremely well, demonstrating continued strong demand for our premium flagship devices,” said David Lowes, chief marketing officer for Samsung Electronics Europe, in a statement. “The smartphone is already so fundamental to our lives but connecting it with a product like the Gear VR opens up incredible new experiences that are often as emotional as they are immersive. With this new incentive, we’re encouraging broader VR adoption so that more people can experience this amazing new technology for themselves.”

Max Cohen, head of mobile at Oculus, added: “We recently announced that one million people used Gear VR in April. This is an important milestone, which speaks to the great experience that Samsung and Oculus can deliver. Together, the hardware and software provides the absolute best VR experience on mobile available today and we’re looking forward to continuing to excite and engage European consumers.”

Samsung has sold more than 300,000 Gear VR headsets in Europe so far in 2016, with 4.7 million total VR headsets shipping to Western Europe this year. Total VR headset sales in Europe in 2015 hit an estimated 1.8 million, according to research from CCS Insight. The research firm estimates that revenues for VR headsets worldwide will hit $10 billion by 2020, with Western Europe accounting for $3 billion of the pie.

“We believe consumers will be keen to experience the wealth of professionally curated 360-degree content that will emerge in 2016,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. “Furthermore, the growth in self-created content generated by the growing number of 360-degree cameras and shared via Facebook and YouTube will only serve to take awareness levels to new heights as the year progresses.”