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Samsung's Gear VR makes its retail debut on Friday

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Starting on Friday (or March 27, if you prefer) you'll be able to stroll into one of about a hundred Best Buys and walk out with a Gear VR Innovator Edition to combine with your Galaxy Note 4. This isn't the first time Samsung and Best Buy have tied up to promote one particular vision of VR; after all, you've been able to demo a Gear VR headset for about a month now. This is, on the other hand, the latest in a series of inexorable steps meant to push Oculus and Samsung to the very front of the virtual reality wave that's set to come crashing down on us.

If you've been paying attention, you'll know the groundwork has already been laid. Oculus CTO John Carmack said at this year's Game Developers' Conference that the company's formal strategy is to go "big, full consumer on Samsung's next release cycle" -- a pretty clear reference to the upcoming launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, which work with their own version of Gear VR. Samsung's phone-powered headset already has a paid app store (or a preview of one, anyway) powered by Oculus so users who do splurge on the smartphone accessory will actually have games to play and fragments of worlds to explore.

As luck would have it, Facebook's announcements at its F8 Developer Conference just gave people more of a reason to shell out cash for a head-screen. Soon, your news feed could be full of 360-degree videos to dive face-first into. Guess what they used to demo those videos on-site? Yep: Gear VRs. Getting these things into brick-and-mortar stores was the next logical step for Samsung and Oculus (especially since Best Buy already digs them), and now a real slice of virtual reality has gone from something you'd fantasize about to something that lives a quick drive and a credit card swipe away.

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