Published on January 8th, 2016 | by Staff0
Oculus Rift: IS THE PRICE TOO HIGH!?
January 6th saw the some of the biggest news of the year, and we’re only a week into 2016. The price of the Oculus Rift’s VR headset was revealed and it came as a shock to nearly everyone when it was announced at $599. For context, that’s about as much as a PlayStation 3 was at launch. Suffice to say, people were not happy. That said, we’re going to take a look at how the Critically Sane crew reacted when they heard the news.
Tony: Since it was first announced, the Oculus Rift always seemed a pipe dream to me. As much as I wished to have complete immersion in a video game, the thought of strapping something on to my head lacked a certain appeal. And the fact is, the device on your skull is just the beginning- to wander in a shooter, I need a weapon in my hand, and something to put my feet on. And the more stuff I needed, the more it would cost. The higher the price of entry, the smaller the audience becomes. And, frankly, with a small audience, fewer developers are going to spend the time and capital to actually develop games for this thing. The Oculus Rift may be $600, but you need a top of the line PC and a bunch of other peripherals. The bar to entry is too high, and in a hobby that is pretty inexpensive to begin with, the cost seems that much the higher for it. I hope the rich people who buy the Rift really enjoy it, but as a mass market device, it’s already doomed to failure.
Peter: Honestly, $599 sounds a bit low to me. That isn’t to say I think it deserves to be higher, but since it’s all brand new technology for the most part, I expected something closer to $1000. I’m not sure many people expected the first generation of these products to be consumer grade. With the exception of PlayStation VR, most of them are probably going to be priced around that mark (I give exception to PS VR because Sony has said in the past that they want to price it around their console, so that would be between $299-$399). This is new technology, a new field of entertainment, so it’s going to take a few generations before it can reach the point where anyone can buy it. As Tony mentioned above, the idea that you also need a high powered PC, or a PlayStation 4 already unnaturally hikes the price to be almost double. It’s a rough place to be in, but one that the space has to go through in order to come out something that will be available for everyone. Maybe one day they’ll announce one that has a four hour power pack attached?
Chris: When it comes to new technology toys, I have the willpower of a three year old. In fact, I think my three year old might actually have more willpower than me as she stubbornly refuses to learn to potty train. So as I heard the $599 price point for the Oculus Rift, I made a weird face, thought for a minute about buying it, and then decided I don’t need it. Look, I don’t need a lot of things but I have them. However, when it comes to videogames, part of why I get them is to enjoy them with others. VR isn’t an experience I can see as being enjoyable with others. I mean, sure, I can have them try it out and I can laugh as they flail about and possibly break my machine. But that isn’t a social experience and I don’t see it as being worth $600+ (with tax/shipping) for me to be the first of my friends to have one. That’s a weird realization for me even with my skepticism about VR because I like to support weird, new tech innovations. For $300 or $400, I might be more easily swayed (and maybe that is where Playstation VR lands) but in terms of this first consumer VR experience, I think I’ll wait on the sidelines.
Jeff: I was never buying a Rift in the first place. I own a six-year-old laptop that overheats and shuts down when I try to watch Pornhub. I’ve never been into PC gaming, because PCs are a pain in the ass. You know what I like about consoles? If I buy a game for a console, it’s going to play in said console. Rift could release at a $300 price point, and I still wouldn’t buy it, because I would still need a $1,000 PC to play games with it. That said, at $600, it almost seems like it should be a stand alone unit that works on its own, but I have no idea how expensive it is to make these VR headsets, so it might honestly be reasonable. I remain very excited about virtual reality, which is why I await a price and release date for Sony’s VR headset for PS4.
Fozzy: VR has always been a fascination for me. Even when I was a little kid playing those really crappy ten polygon model shooters in the 90’s, I was hooked. Not only did I see the potential in it with video games but also as something that could be used in so many daily functions in society. So I don’t think I need to explain to you just how happy I was to play a game on the Rift for the 1st time a couple years ago. Patiently waiting even with continued delays, I almost couldn’t believe that they were finally going to announce a price and date….and then it hit. $600. In some sort of desperate struggle inside my mind, I tried to justify spending that much money on unproven hardware but reality soon hit me when I realized that my graphics card, which I spent $500 on just a couple of years ago, was not sufficient enough to power the Rift.
It may of taken me awhile to realize it but the Rift is definitely not for the mass market. This isn’t a toy you get for little Johnny on Christmas, this is a huge investment and one that may not pay off. At the very least, the people over at Sony should be salivating because they can very well dominate the VR market before there even is a market. If they can hit the $400 price point and I don’t need to buy any more hardware? Where do I sign up?
I still believe that VR is the future of entertainment. Maybe not in the form of a headset that completely immerses you but more like a HoloLens that blends reality and virtual reality together. Who knows? What I do know is that what was a day one purchase for me is now something I’ll have to wait and see on. And I’m right back to square one, patiently waiting
There are our thoughts on the Oculus Rift pricing reveal, what are some of yours?