The Price of Virtual Reality

We might expected a lower price, but, truth is, VR is expensive.

Communications issues are common and still happen these days, even though I think that it’s weird to a point that it’s almost unacceptable. We found so many ways to communicate in so many different styles that a miscommunication or lack of communication seems deliberate.

And with this I’m getting to the Shenmue 3 Paypal backers rewards and the Oculus Rift price. And since the title talks about VR, let’s look at the Oculus Rift subject.

In a recent Kickstarter update, Oculus announced that “all Kickstarter backers who pledged for a Rift development kit will get a free Kickstarter Edition Oculus Rift!” So, looking at the campaign rewards, if you pledge $300 (or maybe $275, I don’t know about this one, since they don’t refer this one as a developer kit but it brought full access to the Developer Center and such) you’ll get a consumer version of the Rift.

I wished I knew that years ago! Because now we know that, for those who didn’t help during the kickstarter, we will have to pay $600 to get our hands on one.

Remembering their campaign FAQ question “How much will the consumer version of the Oculus Rift cost?”, back in 2012, they answered “We can’t commit to a particular number yet but our goal is to deliver the highest quality virtual reality experience at a price that all gamers (and their parents) can afford.”.

A PlayStation 4 (500GB, 1 controller and a game) is $350, Xbox One (500GB, 1 controller and a game) is $350, Nintendo Wii U (32GB and a game) is $300. That usually is something in the line gamers and parents can afford, plus video games, Internet connection and electricity bills to play.

PC users are used to pay much more: Looking at the ROG G20CB (with a lot of depending specifications) it can cost you $2.650.

But $600 for a VR headset seems expensive. I mean, if Oculus were making their reasonable price between $300 and $1.000 they should have said so before, I think. We all have different standards and perspectives so in details like these (costs, time, relevance, etc) it’s a good thing to reveal what exactly is your thought about them.

But, there’s another question: Are the consumer versions $600 so the company can pay the free Kickstarter backers Rifts?

Following the number of Kickstarter backers on their campaign page, they would need to sell 6855 Rifts to pay for the free ones (not counting with the 100 that pledge for the $275 Rift prototype kit). This is just a thought so don’t give it much attention, though it seems a scary financial problem.

Leaving this question, driven by anger, behind, pre-order bundles including a Oculus Ready PC and a Rift headset costs $1500.

If you only pre-order the Rift headset, with built-in headphones and microphone, the package comes with sensor, an Xbox One controller, the Oculus Remote and EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack.

There are at least 100 games promised to be available at the end of 2016, with 20 Oculus exclusive.

Of course, Samsung Gear VR (Powered by Oculus) is already in the market!

The Gear VR works with the Galaxy Note5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S6 Edge+ smartphones.

Well, Galaxy Note5 is around $850 and the Gear VR is $100. So, yeah, $950.

Virtual Reality is, at the moment, expensive. Soon as we see the games and controllers, we’ll see if the price is reasonable for a technology that is in its early beginnings, as a consumer product. Now, will it have the quality we dream of? I don’t think we’ll see it this year, yet. Let the experiments and feedback cycle begin!

Don’t forget that there are a lot of VR headsets in the making, like PlayStation VR, Steam VR (HTC VIVE), HTC VIVE Pre or Vrvana Totem.

Hopefully a populated VR market will help itself enhance and lower its costs fast!


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