Samsung has 5 million Gear VR headsets in the real world

Samsung's cheap, Galaxy-powered virtual reality headset has moved in big numbers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung announced today at CES 2017 that it's shipped more than 5 million Gear VR headsets to consumers globally.

The virtual reality Gear headset is a joint venture between the South Korean tech company and Oculus, the Facebook-owned VR pioneer. Unlike the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, Samsung's VR headset doesn't have its own internal projectors. Instead, like the Google Daydream, there's a cradle for your phone and it uses that screen.

While this limits image quality and processing power, it also dramatically brings down the cost of the device. You won't need to drop thousands of dollars on a computer and headset. If you've got a compatible Samsung Galaxy phone, it's about a hundred bucks.

You won't get the same experiences as you can find on the Vive or Oculus, but the Gear VR has some killer apps worth trying out. Samsung also announced a push for end-to-end VR experiences in 2017, including easy 360-degree photography and video and partnerships with Viceland, the New York Times and rollercoaster nirvana Six Flags to keep the 10 million hours of video content already watched in Gear VR ticking up.

It's also worth noting that while there may be 5 million Gear VR headsets in the wild, the South Korean tech company isn't claiming that it sold this many. The headset was bundled with Samsung's phones as a free giveaway in places.

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