The Oculus Rift VR headset will cost more than $350 (~£230), according to company founder Palmer Luckey, putting its price at the very top of early estimates. Earlier this year, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe hinted that a complete Rift system, including a suitably powerful computer, would cost about $1,500 (~£1,000). Obviously, the UK prices are just estimates; electronics tend to be more expensive in Europe than in the US, after various taxes and import levies are figured in.
In conference, Luckey responded to a query about whether the Rift’s price would be in line with its $350 developer kits, a ballpark target that had been initially discussed by the company.
“You know, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. We’re roughly in that ballpark…” said Luckey, “but it’s going to cost more than that. And the reason for that is that we’ve added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days.”
Luckey went on to explain that the company wasn’t interested in hitting a lower price point, but was instead interested in making “no compromises…in terms of quality.” The Rift’s custom hardware, which contains amongst other things custom displays and lenses, costs more to produce, according to Luckey, and that even small adjustments to lower the price are not worth the trade off in terms of quality.
“The reality that when you make this thing you have to decide what trade offs you’re going to make; are you going to optimise for absolute lowest price possible, even if it’s going to be a lower quality experience? Or do you try to say ‘you know what, this is the first consumer VR headset that we’re going to be pushing out to people. We need to put a stake in the ground and say: this is the best possible experience that we were able to make.”
“It would really suck if you put something out there and people were like ‘ah man…the Rift is good, but it’s not quite there,’ you know? I can’t tell you that it’s going to be $350, and I would say I think people are going to be happy with what they get for the price because I really do think it’s going to be that best VR headset you can buy.”
It’s worth noting that the Rift’s projected price won’t include the company’s Touch Controllers that powered the demos at this year’s E3 and Gamescom. They won’t ship until the quarter after the Rift launches for an extra charge. Meanwhile, Valve and HTC’s Vive headset will ship with its hand controllers, although there’s no word yet on how much it will cost.
Sony’s PlayStation VR won’t ship with controllers, but has something of a leg up in terms of install base thanks to using Move, which has been on the market since the PlayStation 3 days. Earlier this month, samsung revealed GearVR which will cost $99 (~£65), but requires a smartphone in order to function.
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