Samsung Gear VR developers won't be able to charge for apps

Credit: Source: Samsung

Earlier this week we talked about Oculus Connect and how the Oculus Rift VR visor is coming along. We know the consumer version of the Rift won't be out this year but the Samsung Gear VR (which uses Oculus software) should be.

Unfortunately yesterday some bad news came to light. The Gear VR will use Oculus Home, which is essentially a store-front and app discovery tool that you use while wearing the visor. This is apparently the only way for developers to distribute Gear VR content (until someone figures out a hack around that limitation anyway) and that shouldn't normally be a problem. Put on your Gear VR visor, fire up Oculus Home, find a new game to play, buy and download it without ever removing your visor.

Only you won't be able to buy anything when the Gear VR launches. The software just won't be ready to accept payments. You will be able to download free content, but that assumes developers want to give away all their hard work. I'm guessing many, if not most, will opt to delay launching their titles until they can charge for them (or possibly release limited demo versions).

This is not part of some grand plan; quite the contrary. While talking to Polygon Oculus' Nate Mitchell said of developers:

"I share their pain. I truly do. This is not where we wanted to be. We wanted to have our payments infrastructure online already...We have devs, they’re making made for VR games and they say I’m ready to sell it to all of these users, and we’re like, 'Hold that thought for a few months.'"

Of course there is still the question of what kind of sales Gear VR will enjoy, considering that the potential audience is limited to Galaxy Note 4 owners who're willing to shell out an extra $100-$200 (the official price hasn't been announced) to check out VR. It may be that developers will give away their software just to build word of mouth and become known as creators of quality VR experiences in anticipation of the launch of the Oculus Rift.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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