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Oculus VR wants Rift to be free

Oculus VR wants Rift to be free

Tue 16 Jul 2013 8:09am GMT / 4:09am EDT / 1:09am PDT
HardwareDevelopment

CEO is "thinking all the time" about strategies to drive consumer price towards zero

Oculus VR has the short-term goal of hitting a $300 price-point for its oculus Rift head-set, but in the long-term it wants to make the hotly anticipated device completely free.

Speaking to Edge Online, CEO Brendan Iribe stated his belief that the lowest possible price-point would give the Oculus Rift the widest possible audience. Oculus VR has consistently described the headset as a new platform rather than simply a peripheral and, like other platform holders, the company is open to "relationships and strategies" that could drive the price towards zero.

"We'd love it to be free one day, so how do we get it as close to free as possible?" Iribe asked. "Obviously it won't be that in the beginning."

"You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidise consoles because there's enough money to be made on software and other areas, then there's the potential that this, in partnership, could get subsidised.

"Let's say there was some game you played in VR that everybody loved and everybody played and we made $100 a month - or even $10 a month - at some point the hardware's cheap enough and we're making enough that we could be giving away the headset."

Iribe claimed that the company is "thinking all the time" about how to eventually make the Oculus Rift free to consumers. However, with only a $300 dev kit available to the public, any such plans are a matter for the future rather than the present.

In the meantime, Oculus VR has the capital to move forward confidently, after closing a $16 million funding round in June.

21 Comments

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

202 1,106 5.5
I am still not convinced that the Oculus Rift can find any audience outside the most hard-core gamers and tech enthusiasts. And a lot of people here would swear that there's not enough of those people to support even a less ridiculous-looking hardware, like, let's say, game consoles.
Wearable electronics is the way forward IMHO, but Oculus Rift will have problems gaining any significance. Although driving the price towards zero could certainly help :-)

Posted:A year ago

#1

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

340 291 0.9
@Jakub
I'd argue that this really depends on where the market goes. A lot of tech starts out in niche areas that only appeal to the hardcore and the nerdy, this industry has plenty of examples for that. If we see a lot of movement into this area, it may start to become more mainstream meaning that the Oculus VR (or some competitor) becomes a household name. I'll admit it seems a bit beyond the horizon at the moment though.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 942 0.7
I just simply dont like the idea of playing with something on my face. Even if it has amazing 3D visuals. Im not saying the product is bad and I hope it would be succesful, but I just dont think its for a guy like me.

Posted:A year ago

#3

Leo Wakelin QA Tester, Zoonou

24 4 0.2
OcRift will do for me what Kinect did before. Be interesting for a moment, a burden and distraction after a while, and left in the box after the first month.

Posted:A year ago

#4

Posted:A year ago

#5

Carl Dalton Game develepor

3 10 3.3
Popular Comment
We took delivery of our Dev Kit and spent most of that day trying the demos. Within a couple of days it was up and running in one of our engines. It is a very exciting experience, however, one genuine hurdle I can see is that it made a couple of our team quite motion sick, and those that played Team Fortress for a while had a little 'after effect' motion sickness when they stopped playing.
That said, the VR experience is very compelling and if a compelling price point for the retail version can also be reached I think it will fly!

Posted:A year ago

#6

Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design

83 222 2.7
Popular Comment
@Jakub
If this was really the case, so many devs wouldn't be on board. You simply have a very biased opinion on VR

@Rick
You too, you repeat the same thing on every Oculus Rift article. You will change your tune once you try it lol. You don't seem to actually understand it isn't "just" 3D. It's more along the lines of looking like reality. That is a huge difference.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 16th July 2013 5:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#7

Martin Banak Graphic Designer, 3d Artist, Indie game dev

6 27 4.5
@ Rick

Do you wear headphones on your face Mr DJ Rick ? ;) Don't put the Rift aside just yet.
I have been playing with the dev kit for a few weeks now and I must say that while it is not perfect, resolution is crap, and it is lacking positional head tracking, the level of immersion is beyond expectations, you see 3D the way it is meant to be seen, once you put it on your face, after few minutes you forget about it. The experience it delivers is worth the slight inconvenience ;)
Even my wife who is not into gaming was impressed :)
I am really looking forward to consumer release.

Kind regards,
Martin

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Martin Banak on 16th July 2013 5:19pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer

236 96 0.4
great, talking about it being free, even as the damn thing isn't on the market yet.. First get the it really on the market before you start thinking about the future.. There is still a lot to do to get the Oculus Rift even better.. Personally I don't like the ski-glasses approuch, I'd rather have a Forte VFX-1 approuch which sits really comfortable even after a long duration, and it has the ability to flip the vizor up..

Posted:A year ago

#9

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
This is simply no other technology in the industry that's half as exciting to me as the Rift is. Even beyond gaming, the potential for simply exploring accurate recreations of places exotic, historic, and fictional is incredible.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Donald Dalley Freelance writer

52 38 0.7
3D TVs failed to change the market, and for good reason, but it will take a long time for this Rift to build to the point where it will be commonplace. The type of games that can best make use of it will restrict it spreading more than its cost.

However, despite any perceived challenges, I hope this one takes off and is unprecedentedly successful. Somebody has to be first at making VR a widespread success, and I like what this company has. I will consider getting one when it hits the market.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

412 981 2.4
my guess is the people who think its niche, are people who havent tried it yet. IMHO.. Its revolutionary. It will sell itself. Its that once in every 2 to 3 decades tech that is so " My god you have to try this" in nature, it changes everything.

Posted:A year ago

#12

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada

168 212 1.3
Big telling point will be if they can address the motion sickness issue. I think that's likely the only thing at all that will stop this from becoming incredibly popular.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Sean Edwards Director, Shovsoft

6 6 1.0
I find that anyone who has had a skeptical opinion doesn't fully understand what the experience is like and those that were skeptical and then try it become believers. Until you have tried it for yourself you really don't understand how amazing it is. It is unlike anything that has come before it. Virtual Reality is going to be big 2 - 3 years time as the hardware matures and some 'killer apps' are developed. Right now there are thousands of people experimenting and some of them are going to create new and innovative experiences. There are also lots of applications beyond just gaming that VR can be used for which will open other segments of the market. Right now is an opportunity to place a stake hold in an emerging industry.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Anyone here see that Steve Martin movie The Jerk? I keep having this crazy vision of the Rift coming out, people buying in en masse and developing crossed eyes or permanent dizziness from too much usage, then filing some sort of nutty class action suit down the road.

I need to try one of those things out, but I've heard from a handful of folks who have that say it's REALLY awesome... with the major caveat of not being able to wear it for too long.

I know for a fact that motion sickness affects some people worse than others, so that thing had better come with a big fat warning label on it and on the first screen you see when that consumer model is put on . Hopefully, they're testing this on a wide range of people from kids to older adults, as I can't see those two ends of the spectrum not wanting to poke their faces into that thing and see what's what...

Posted:A year ago

#15

Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ

199 72 0.4
Don't knock it until you try it.

I've tried it once, for a few hours, on a few games, and I am totally sold. It needs to be HD, but it will be, there's already been talk of that in the pipe.

Seriously, if you're into playing immersive games, or immersive anything, this thing is calling your name. There's something totally different about it than looking at a monitor.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Richard Pygott Level Designer

40 13 0.3
I believe the market is quite a small one, which is shame for people like us, the motion sickeness afterwards reminds of Nintendos Virtual Boy!

Posted:A year ago

#17

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

202 1,106 5.5
@ Brook: I am not biased against VR. I actually love it. I even considered buying that ridiculous Sony headset 3D display about one year ago :-) And I will be among the early adopters of the Oculus Rift. Because I am a geek with a lot of money.
I just can't see it becoming a mainstream device that everyone needs to own. Developer support is great, but almost every new cool gadget gets a lot of devs behind it. If it didn't, it wouldn't even have the right to exist.

I wish Oculus Rift all the success they can get and I will be sending money their way. But my opinion is that I will be part of a minority.

Posted:A year ago

#18

Mark Beesly Business Director, Dare

7 1 0.1
@Jakub

It's also more than just a piece of kit for gaming. With film now able to be shot in 360 degrees it is surely only so long before someone shoots a 360 degree feature film. That could open the doors to a far broader market. Even at just a trade level, how soon before someone opens a 360 cinema?

Posted:A year ago

#19

Eoin Moran Studying Bachelor of Engineering, University of Melbourne

35 32 0.9
I can see this being successful. Just depends on what sort of market they would want to go for (at least initially). We're only talking about it's use in video games catered to people like us, but I wouldn't be surprised if it manages to originally find its roots elsewhere.

Even though the early adopters will probably just be nerds with too much spare change (of which I'll include myself), I can see this going gang-busters if they wanted to advertise this to youths and manage to bring the cost down to somewhere in the two-hundreds. I can't think of any 13 year old who wouldn't want one of these if there was an advertising campaign telling them to get it and the $250 mark is a perfect price for Christmas and birthdays.

Or they could make a higher-priced unit and sell I as an education/training device.

I don't know if it could be used to watch special 3D broadcasts, but I'm sure there would be interest in front row sports action, especially if they decided to get into bed with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and sell it as a Sky add-on.

Anyhow, I think it is way too early to write this thing off. All new things start off as some sort of niche device.

Edit: Looks like Mark bet me on the "outside markets" thing, whilst I was writing ;-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eoin Moran on 17th July 2013 11:14am

Posted:A year ago

#20

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
By most accounts from people that have been using it over a period of time, the nausea diminishes dramatically with repeated use - I've seen it compared to finding you 'sea legs' - and fine-tuning the the focal point and interpupillary distance seems to help, which many demo kits won't have done. I still haven't tried it myself, but I'm quite eager to - someone bring a demo to Philadelphia!

Posted:A year ago

#21

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