Samsung is bringing back and expanding its free Gear VR promotion for Father’s Day, using the Oculus-powered VR headset as a lure to drive phone sales.
If you buy a Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 5 before June 19 you’re eligible for a free Gear VR headset as well as several VR games from the Oculus store.
There are already more than 1 million monthly Gear VR users out there, with Samsung sales partially driven by a similar, but more restrictive, promotion earlier this year connected to the launch of the Galaxy S7. The new promotion includes the older S6 generation phone, which means carriers offering that phone for free under 2-year contract are essentially helping Samsung reduce the up front cost of an entire VR system to $0. You’ll have to pay a slightly larger cell phone bill going forward under contract, but many people will do that anyway when upgrading to a new phone. The free Gear VR would be just be a surprise bonus.
If you’ve ever been to a VR meetup, you would know there’s definitely a correlation between males and interest in VR, so attaching this promotion to Father’s Day makes a lot of sense. That said, a lot of young people are going to graduate from high school and college over the next few weeks and this promotion means that even families who are unaware of VR and opting for older, less expensive phones as a gift could soon have an Oculus-powered VR system in their home along with a few free games.
Samsung and other phone manufacturers are preparing for the launch later this year of phones that can power Google’s Daydream VR platform. This means that in less than six months a new generation of phones will power another low cost but high quality mobile VR platform. It seems possible that by Christmas you’ll buy a new phone and then decide which VR headset you want bundled with it for free.