Tech Talk: What Facebook Sees in Oculus Rift
Samsung is said to be working on a virtual reality headset to challenge the Oculus Rift and could launch it before the end of the year. IBTimes UK

The virtual reality gaming space is becoming increasingly crowded. With the Oculus Rift kicking things off, Sony has weighed in with its Project Morpheus for the PlayStation 4 and now a report suggests smartphone heavyweight Samsung is ready to enter the fray.

Sources within Samsung speaking to Engadget have revealed that the South Korean company is ready to launch the device before the end of the year and that a select group of developers already have prototype units in their hands.

The prototype virtual reality headsets are powered by Samsung's own high-end smartphones, currently the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3, but the consumer versions will need as-yet-unannounced powerful smartphones in order to work - think Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4.

Wired not wireless

The virtual reality headset will feature an OLED screen which is as good as, if not better, than the one seen on the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 according to Engadget's sources. The latest version of the Rift uses screens with resolutions of 960 x 1080 for each eye.

The headset will likely need a wired connection to your smartphone or tablet in order to work, as wireless connectivity is still not at the stage where you would experience no lag - a key component of virtual reality in preventing motion sickness.

The Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus have both been in development for a lot longer than the Samsung headset, but Samsung is keen to not only beat both to market, but undercut both on price also.

Watching films

Samsung's headset will likely be seen as an accessory for your smartphone or tablet rather than an out-and-out gaming device, potentially used to watch films as well as play games.

Samsung's headset is set to work with the huge variety of Android games available through Google's Play Store though how it will work in terms of head tracking (if at all) is unknown. Both the Morpheus and Rift rely on cameras facing you to track the movement of your head in 3D space.

Samsung already has its Gear range of smartwatches and fitness trackers which work exclusively with its smartphones and is said to be working on a rival for Google Glass - called Gear Glass - which reports suggest will be introduced in September.

Samsung is a hugely sprawling electronics company which makes everything from air conditioners to fridges, but its mobile business is what is driving revenue growth these days, therefore it is no surprise to see reports that it is developing new revenue streams within the mobile sector.

Rift and Morpheus launch dates

The Oculus Rift has been in development for over two years with developers currently using the second generation of the headset. The project was elevated to new heights in March when Facebook paid $2bn for the company.

Rift currently has a number of major games companies creating exclusive content for it and it is seen by most hardcore gamers as the front-runner for VR at the moment.

There is no official release date for the consumer version of Oculus Rift (or a price) but most people expect it to be launched in late 2014 or early 2015.

Project Morpheus, Sony's virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 was announced in March and is also expected to be launched in early 2015.