The Oculus Rift is seen by many as the most exciting step in gaming for years, with the virtual reality headset having wowed gamers and tech fans with its promise of an immersive gameplay experience. Not only that, but there have already been some enticing projects using the Rift: a software development company was able to recreate South Park in VR, whilst a collaboration with Samsung could give the public a first taste of VR via a headset made in partnership .
The Rift’s history has its share of controversial moments, though. There has been a vocal lawsuit with ZeniMax, and Oculus has been forced to stop the sale of Rift developer kits in China. The largest eyebrow-raiser was when Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in March, leading to concerns over the future of the project and criticism from Minecraft guru Notch. Since then the company has reiterated that gaming is still a primary focus for the Rift, and promised that the headset would be cheaper thanks to the Facebook acquisition.
Now, we have an indication of the price range for the consumer model of the Oculus Rift. Speaking with Eurogamer, Oculus heads Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell were able to give a cautious estimate of what it would cost for the average consumer. Mitchell stated that he wants the consumer version, codenamed the ‘CD1,’ to retail for a sum similar to the current developer kit: “We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range.” Luckey also added at the consumer model was “going to be as cheap as possible.”
Luckey and Mitchell also gave more details on the consumer model of the Rift. They were not able to give an update on when a consumer version would be available, however, explaining that no further announcements were ready to be made (apparently, questions about the release schedule were said to be the hardest to hear). The wait for the CD1 was also given an explanation with a comparison to the strategy behind new console releases. Luckey noted that the development cycle – “from when the first developer kits are shipped to when they actually launch a product” is at least two years in length.
As for the nuts and bolts of the consumer model, there will be changes from the current developer kit. the CD1 will increase from the 1080p of the DK2 developer model, whilst the refresh rate will rise to 90HZ from 75HZ. As has become the habit with passing time, Luckey claims that the consumer version will be significantly improved.
The duo also gave a hint that the consumer version will contain a special feature. The latest developer kit added positional/head tracking, and there could be something special in store for owners of the CD1. When asked about new features, Luckey was coy, offering nothing but a cryptic: “We’ll see.”
What do you think of the price range being targeted? Does that fit with your expectations, or are you not yet convinced that laying down console money on the Oculus Rift is worth it for you personally? Share your thoughts in the comments.