Oculus Rift Pre-Orders Opened With a Controversial Price Tag

Four years ago, a small company by the name of Oculus created waves in the gaming industry with their virtual reality headset, the Rift. The...
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    Four years ago, a small company by the name of Oculus created waves in the gaming industry with their virtual reality headset, the Rift. The company’s founder, Palmer Luckey, promised that Oculus would bring VR to the masses. After raising over two million dollars on kickstarter, being bought by facebook, and selling 2 iterations of dev kits, the first consumer version of the Rift was open for pre-order this past Tuesday. This was certainly an exciting moment for VR enthusiasts, but the price tag left many gamers disappointed.

    January 6th 2016 8AM PST marked the beginning of what many people consider to be the “year of VR.” Thousands of people were impatiently refreshing the Oculus website to see the final price of the Rift. Unfortunately, the price tag was $599 USD before taxes, shipping, and the price of the Touch. This instantly turned off the many fans that were anticipating a lower price point and disappointment was found all over various VR communities.

    The real issue with the price tag isn’t necessarily that it’s so high, but rather it was communicated poorly. Last September, Palmer Luckey said that Rift’s price will be in the ballpark of $350, but probably cost a bit more. Earlier that year, Luckey was also quoted saying that an entire Oculus-ready PC plus an Oculus Rift will cost about $1500. Since the recommended specs were already known, people estimated the Rift will likely cost $500 at the max. Of course, $600 is far from the ballpark of $350 and those who were hesitant to dish out $500 were left with no option but to pass on the CV1. In a Reddit AMA, Luckey admitted that he “handled the messaging poorly,” but he then went on to explain the reasoning. The $1500 system estimate that was given earlier in the year started to be interpreted as the price of a standalone Rift. He wanted to ensure people knew that this wasn’t the case, and gave a $350 ballpark because he knew the price would be closer to that number than $1500.

    When dismissing previous pricing information, $599 doesn’t really seem that bad for what you’re getting. The Rift is cutting edge technology and is essentially the first of its kind. One thing that can put the price in perspective is by comparing it to high-end display. Many gamers have dropped nearly $700 to get monitors like the ROG Swift or big HD TVs, so $599 for a device that has much more cutting-edge technology really isn’t unreasonable. It should also be noted that Luckey claimed, “we don’t make money on the Rift.” Despite all the extras included in the package, the price of the Rift is rather close to the cost of the hardware.

    When it all started, the Rift’s purpose was to bring VR to the masses. After the unveiling of the price tag, it is unlikely this will be the headset that brings VR to the average consumer. Despite this, I think it’s very important that the focus of the first generation of VR is quality before price. Virtual reality has been a failed fad in the past, so companies like Oculus need to prove that is much more than a gimmick this time around. It will also allow everyday consumers to see the true powers of VR via in-store demos and arcades. While I certainly think that Oculus dropped the ball with the communication of the pricing, $599 is not bad for the kind of amazing technology you are getting.

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    About Author

    Monopolyman
    I am a young writer who is passionate about gaming and technology. PC is my preferred platform, but I appreciate all forms of video games. I enjoy voicing my opinion in the articles I write, but also like to keep our readers informed on the latest news.

Comments

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  1. S7_Kewizzle
    I bought one.
  2. Jacob Frye
    Not worth the money. If I was going to buy this, I'll wait for the price to go down.
      SentryOG likes this.
  3. CupcakeLlama
    "First of its kind" Chuck E. Cheese has one of these, just go there with $5, buy tokens and have a blast shooting ships.
  4. Samwilk1887
    It's expensive but dang, I really want to get it... I'll hope price drops.

    Great article!
  5. 3xTiNcT
    Not sure how I feel about the price. I wont be getting it anytime soon though.
  6. twitchy
    This reminds me of the ps3... what was it like 600$ for a 60gb console. its why it didnt sell well to start. Remember this is $600usd so if a canadian like myself wants one id have to drop around $900cad... psvr is the way to go imo.
  7. Alesana
    I remember reading about this like a year ago. Even then it said it was going to be $600. It's actually not that much for what it all is. I mean, isn't that pretty much how much the next gen consoles were? I'm going to get this, but not right away. I wanna see what the Vive goes for.
    1. Monopolyman
      Yeah, I share pretty much the same stance. I imagine that the Vive will probably go for around $800, but so far it seems like it will be the better overall experience.
  8. Red58
    Is it just me or does VR gaming just sound like it will be annoying on most franchises? The horror genre would be the only thing I would consider using this for, and even then not for extensive periods of time.
    1. Monopolyman
      Simulation and racing is honestly a huge one for me. I also think you should keep in mind that this really opens the door for types of games that we've never really had before. VR enables various experiences that are more compelling that don't translate well do regular monitors. Just imagine games that are environment and story driven, like Dear Esther, Gone Home, Life is Strange, etc. in VR.
    2. Red58
      Hmm, you've got a point. Though VR Racing might make me feel a bit woozy after a while.
  9. lol
    About the price off a high end phone. Didn't expect it to be much lower. Still out of budget though so see you in 3-5yrs Oculus Rift.
  10. Four Quid
    This is the Xbox one all over again... Starting at a ridiculous price for something that isn't worth that match... especially with the VR Sony and the HTC set's coming out this year, which is rumoured to be more affordable than the Oculus.

    I'm curious as to the specs of the final product in regards to the Sony and HTC VR headsets and how they compare to the Oculus. I can see most people purchasing the Sony VR as it's compatible with the PS4 and you don't need to purchased a Compatible PC just to get the Oculus working.
      LookBroZombies_XBL likes this.
    1. Monopolyman
      There is pretty much a 0% chance the HTC Vive will be cheaper than the Rift. However, I am interested to see what the pricing of the PSVR will be.
    2. Stonerzard
      I think the PSVR will be the last one to hit the market, and will most likely slightly undercut competitors. I can't attest to whether or not the VR sets are worth the pricetags that Oculus Rift it priced at, but I thought there were high chances of it being that expensive. Definitely too much for just a peripheral for me right now, but this could be the leading gaming style one day.