On one side, there's a tethered experience like Oculus Rift, where, "There's going to be this bigger, more expensive experience ... that has a much bigger sense of 'presence' right now all attached to a computer where you have power plugged into the back," he said. That's the concept of being transported to another world and actually being there: a sense of "presence." On the other side, there's mobile VR: untethered, intended for mainstream accessibility and able to use your existing devices (such, as, say, your cellphone). "It's untethered, but there's now limitations and restrictions around the GPU/CPU," Iribe said.
Virtual reality, right now, is all about trade-offs. This discrepancy between mobile and tethered VR is the biggest trade-off there is: Do you want convenience, or do you want "presence"?
If you answered, "I want both," we're right there with you. Sadly, that's not a reality just yet. Iribe explained:
"There are certainly trade-offs. We don't know how long it'll take to get to the magic VR sunglasses that are untethered. It's a dream. We all believe in that future of a mobile, VR pair of sunglasses, but that's pretty far away."
Gear VR is a staging ground for mainstream virtual reality. It uses the Note 4. It's focused on media consumption. It's light and pretty. Heck, when it launches this October alongside the Note 4, everything you can do on it will be free experiences. That's part of the plan of pushing virtual reality into the mainstream. Hook 'em with casual VR, then show off the big guns with tethered, interactive virtual reality.