Following backlash about the headset’s launch price, Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey reveals that the first generation headset is unlikely to drop in price.
Earlier this week, there was an uproar after it was revealed that virtual reality headset Oculus Rift would be priced at $599 at launch. And that’s not including the price that players will need to shell out if they don’t have a computer powerful enough to work with the tech. With the controversy refusing to die down, the headset’s inventor Palmer Luckey was forced to explain the high price point as well as the initial messaging surrounding the Rift’s price (it was previously stated that the Rift team was aiming for a price of up to $400).
However, despite the furor surrounding the Oculus Rift’s price, those interested in becoming an early adopter shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for the price to drop, at least not any time soon. In the same Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Luckey revealed that a price drop (as a result of offering the Rift without games, headphones and an Xbox controller) is “very unlikely for the first generation of Rift.” He also added that “a standardized system is in the best interest in developers trying to reach the widest audience, and we cannot significantly reduce the cost without dramatically reducing quality.”
But as the Oculus Rift team refuses to budge on that price point, some have suggested that this is an opportunity for Sony, with its PlayStation VR headset, to capitalize. In a new report, research analysts at SuperData indicated that consumers should expect to pay between $400-600 for the Sony-branded headset. At the lower end of that, that makes the headset far more affordable than the Oculus Rift and even at the higher price point, with the required PS4 hardware (which retails for around $400 in bundle form) it could still cost some hundreds of dollars less than the full Rift + PC package. Also aiding Sony is the HTC Vive headset, which also promises to be expensive.
Regardless of which virtual reality headset people pick up, though, and how much they pay for it, virtual reality really does look set to take off in 2016. VR games making waves include Crytek’s outrageously good-looking rock climbing sim The Climb, CCP Games’ ambitious space shooter EVE: Valkyrie (which comes bundled with Oculus Rift) and Psychonauts: In the Rhombus of Ruin, a PlayStation VR exclusive revealed by Sony and Double Fine at the PlayStation Experience 2015 event last month.