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Merge's $129 Virtual Reality Headset Goes on Sale This Fall

"We're getting beyond yesterday’s game design methodology."

Merge VR

There are already too many virtual reality headsets coming to market. Well, shucks, here comes another.

A San Antonio, Texas, startup called Merge VR said today that it plans to launch a pair of foam goggles this fall for $129. Like Google Cardboard ($25) or the Samsung Gear VR ($200), the goggles are effectively a head-mounted holder for a smartphone and can play VR apps uploaded to Apple and Google’s app stores.

 The Merge headset and motion controller
The Merge headset and motion controller
Merge VR

However, Merge is also trying to attract developer and consumer interest by bundling a handheld motion controller with the goggles. Merge’s developer tools, which are built on top of the game engine Unity, recognize a button press as a general, agnostic “click,” which means that apps made with the low-cost foam headset in mind don’t need to be exclusive to the upstart platform.

CEO Franklin Lyons said the goal is to make trying something out in VR (and sharing it with others) as seamless as possible.

“We’re getting beyond yesterday’s game design methodology,” Lyons said. “The goggles are your eyes, the controllers are your hands. Give one of these apps to someone, put the goggles on, put the controller in their hands, and you don’t have to teach them anything.”

Lyons said he expected the goggles to hit retail store shelves “before the holiday season.” They will support any iPhone from 2012’s iPhone 5 onward, and any higher-end Android smartphone from the same time frame.

The pricier Gear VR, which will work with only a few select Samsung phones but which Samsung and its partner Oculus say provides a finely tuned VR experience, is set to launch to consumers by the end of the year. The HTC Vive, a higher-end VR headset that connects to a PC, is also slated for a holiday launch.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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