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Oculus Rift priced $600, ships in March

By James Brightman

Oculus Rift priced $600, ships in March

Wed 06 Jan 2016 4:07pm GMT / 11:07am EST / 8:07am PST
HardwareVirtual Reality

The much anticipated VR headset finally has a retail price [Update: Palmer Luckey says Rift "obscenely cheap"]

With the pre-order program officially now open, Oculus has revealed its price of $599.99 for the Rift headset. The package, expected to ship in March, includes the VR headset, sensor, Oculus Remote, cables, Xbox One Controller, EVE: Valkyrie, and Lucky's Tale.

Speculation around Rift's price point has circulated for months. A $600 price tag is likely a surprise to many, but Oculus founder Palmer Luckey did state last October that the price would come in higher than $350. "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," Luckey said at the time.

While it's true that the package includes two games and a controller, when you factor in the cost of a high-end PC gaming rig, VR becomes a very, very expensive proposition for most people. We'll be keeping an eye on reactions to this news.

Update: On the Oculus blog, the company has specified that the first shipments will go out on March 28, with the Rift being "available in limited locations at select retailers starting in April." For those pre-ordering the Rift, Oculus also noted that by doing so, you'll be securing your place in line for Touch pre-orders later this year.

Oculus is promising more than 100 titles available by the end of this year. Oculus Studios itself will be releasing over 20 games exclusively for the Rift this year, including Rockband VR by Harmonix, Edge of Nowhere by Insomniac, and The Climb by Crytek.

Analysts are now starting to weigh in on the Oculus pricing news. RW Baird's Colin Sebastian noted that Facebook is quite clearly targeting early adopters with the $600 price. "[This] seems to validate our 'slow ramp' VR thesis," he said. "Despite the significant hype and growth potential for virtual and augmented reality platforms, we continue to believe that Mobile VR platforms (e.g., Google Cardboard, Gear VR, etc.) will gain faster momentum, with expensive headsets initially limited to technology 'early adopters.' For comparison, we note that Oculus Rift is priced well above video game consoles (PS4 and Xbox One are in the $300 range). As such, we expect the installed base of high-end VR platform to ramp gradually, and not penetrate the mass market likely until 2017-18 as price-points fall below $400."

SuperData's Joost van Dreunen added that "historically a new device enters with a substantial subsidy in order to capture market share early on." Clearly, Oculus is not taking that approach, and so that "means that the first wave of sales gives us no real sense of whether average consumers will care enough for this to become a household device," he said.

Although many of us have sticker shock, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said he thought $600 ended up being "almost 'affordable'" and cheaper than he expected. "I think they have a chance to sell 1 million at that price the first year. Content still matters for the ultimate success of the platform, so we have to wait until we know more," he said.

The early crowd hasn't been too phased by the price point. The initial allotment of pre-orders has already sold out, and Palmer Luckey took to Twitter to stress that "we are not making money on Rift hardware. High end VR is expensive, but Rift is obscenely cheap for what it is."

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26 Comments

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

384 312 0.8
If you really are bought into the VR idea then it doesnt really matter if its 400 or 500 or 600USD. But not a mass market price yet, and it doesnt need to be.

Posted:8 months ago

#1

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,491 1,886 1.3
Provided your order goes through, which often it will not, 700 plus shipping in Europe and with exclusives the promise of another format war. On the PC. Against Valve. It will be interesting what HTC will announce for a price, since they did not enter this with ballpark $350 statements, but rather the pricerange we see from OR now.

Posted:8 months ago

#3

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

215 305 1.4
Popular Comment
So $1500 entry point and that's without bespoke controllers. Call me in 2017 I guess.

Posted:8 months ago

#4

Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises

509 348 0.7
Why would anyone order this knowing a new version is coming out soon with amazing controllers?

Also gaming PCs aren't that expensive, GTX 970 graphics cards are around $350 on Amazon right now. The rest of the PC can be made from older parts, or bought new for $400.

Posted:8 months ago

#5

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

516 1,306 2.5
a gaming pc capable of compatibility with the Occulus for 750? umm no....

as for VR, build it and they will come.... well as long as you hit the price point..which I dont see happening here. PC VR also has a slight chicken and egg thing going on here. Occulus is going to need a serious must have app/game or two to get it really rolling, but who will invest in creating such an app/game without an installed user base first? Big opening for Sony VR here

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 6th January 2016 5:34pm

Posted:8 months ago

#6

Rodney Smith Developer

83 40 0.5
my one's free!!!!

Posted:8 months ago

#7

Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.

158 185 1.2
If you could have told the people spending $30k on HMDs a few years ago that they could buy one of this quality for $600 now they would have wept.
Early adoption has never been for everyone and I don't think this is bad when you think how quickly prices of new tech erode. It's higher than hoped for but not outlandish.

Posted:8 months ago

#8

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,521 3,221 1.3
Popular Comment
Julian, I don't think many of us are balking at the price differential between 10 years ago and today. It's the promise of mass market saturation by the industry and analysts combined with this price that is making us scoff with knowing nods.

Posted:8 months ago

#9

Bill Young head of strategic partnerships, maxplay

27 33 1.2
Jim, are you scoffing at Oculus for setting that price...or industry analysts for setting those expectations? If the latter, totally fair. If the former, I think I have to agree with Julian here.

Posted:8 months ago

#10

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,491 1,886 1.3
Popular Comment
Mass market audience without a must buy mass market game, without a must buy mass market movie? Somebody please explain. Riiiiiiidge Racer?

Enthusiast device, enthusiast price.

Posted:8 months ago

#11

Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.

158 185 1.2
Neat phrase Klaus.
Jim, you're probably right about expectations. I think I have a habit of ignoring wild claims by companies or analysts so don't really notice them. Having tried all 3 main HMDs and many more I can say that I believe that to be a fair price for what it is, and not a bad starting point. As someone with an interest I'd be more worried if it was half the price and rubbish.

Posted:8 months ago

#12

Jan Almqvist Senior Artist, Electronic Arts

40 26 0.7
Well as Lucky said, "bad VR is the only thing that kill off VR" but I think it's equally true to say that no VR can kill VR also (Edit: "No VR", as in no content for VR.). I think a lot of smaller studios went all-in believing that this would become a mass market proposition from OC/FB. Many of those studios that are now developing the 100 games won't be around to do a second game. Hopefully FB can throw them some cash to keep them around.

Oculus got the ball rolling but it seems to me that if VR is gonna stick this time, it's down to Sony. I mean, they might be able to do a limited-time-only PSVR bundle (PS4+PSVR+Move+game) for $599 and include another VR game in the PSN subscription. Just having it subsidised like that throughout 2016 could get the installed base into healthy numbers for 2017.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jan Almqvist on 6th January 2016 10:17pm

Posted:8 months ago

#13

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,491 1,886 1.3
Popular Comment
OR is up against more than just bad VR. Such statements are blatantly underestimating the competition.

Sony
VR Display Device - Check, Morpheus
VR rendering device - Check, PS4
Pre-existing content distribution mechanism - Check, PSN

Valve
VR Display Device - Check, Vive
VR rendering device - No, maybe someday Steambox
Pre-existing content distribution mechanism - Check, Steam

Oculus Rift
VR Display Device - Check, Oculus Rift
VR rendering device - None
Pre-existing content distribution mechanism - None, build from scratch.

Currently Missing
Video game companies: Nintendo, Microsoft
Display Technology Companies: LG
Dark Horses: Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix

If the mainstream glances at VR the right way, there will be blood.

Posted:8 months ago

#14

Reza Ghavami Marketing Analyst, NVIDIA

35 24 0.7
For those pre-ordering the Rift, Oculus also noted that by doing so, you'll be securing your place in line for Touch pre-orders later this year.
Apparently, that's not how it worked when I pre-ordered. When my order was processed, I was asked if I wanted to "Sign Up" to get in line for the Touch controllers. The "Sign Up" button did nothing but repeatedly give me an error message. :(

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Reza Ghavami on 6th January 2016 8:54pm

Posted:8 months ago

#15
I understand the dismay from the loyal fan-base - they were told nothing to dissuade their expectation of 'Ballpark' being $399 - they were also told that the hardware would be reasonable. They are faced with PC's needed to run the experience being over $900 and the addition of the $600 price and still unknown Oculus Store requirements.

Having followed VR from the last two attempts at mainstream adoption - I am happy that there will be enough Dev and consumer hardware out there that no matter if the first champions of this latest drive falter the tech is going to be utilized and survive a better birthing than in the 90's.

My key point is to business style and credibility - Oculus is the only true VR Kickstarter to survive and reach some vestige of its goal - but in surviving it seems to have made some major compromises of the original business plan that it presented and the VR community supported. The acquisition has proven troubling and the gains seem to have been diluted (and we have not even seen the fall out from the two lawsuits waiting in the wings?)

Now faced with a poor handling (no matter the sell out of stock) by a very young and naive executive structure - that has to take much of the responsibility for the backlash it is now experiencing, and is even in part responsible for creating the competition pressuring their poor judgement - we have to wonder if better hands are needed to steer this next phase of VR adoption?

Posted:8 months ago

#16

Bob Johnson Studying graphics design, Northern Arizona University

39 72 1.8
Popular Comment
Time for hype to meet reality.

Reality has slayed 3d and Kinect recently. I think it is ready to take out VR.

I see 2 big problems when this hits the real world besides price which may be its smallest problem as the price will eventually come down.

First, it requires games to be made specifically for it. Ports won't cut it. And the big western publishers don't like making games for anything with a low install base other than ports. They like making games for the biggest install base.

Second, it cuts out the real world. No eating, drinking, texting, hearing the doorbelll, seeing people around you, looking at your controller, ... boring stuff everyone takes for granted. Also doesn't show well on YouTube. These issues don't show up when you are playing a 5 minute tech demo. But they will show up in the real world. And if customers don't view it as the next big platform then it only reaffirms #1 above.

It needs a killer app.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bob Johnson on 6th January 2016 11:27pm

Posted:8 months ago

#17

Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,193 2,028 1.7
Now that the price part is over we just have to wait until the end of the year to see how well(or not so well) this thing ends up selling. If only we could fast forward to December 31st.

Posted:8 months ago

#18

Aravindh Subramanian Lead Technical Artist, SUMO Digital

3 3 1.0
Sony has got a big opening here PS4 + Sony VR.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aravindh Subramanian on 7th January 2016 6:24am

Posted:8 months ago

#19

Rolf Moren Freelance Marketing Consultant

37 27 0.7
There are a few problems with this price.
For us, as professionals, it becomes a problem as I see it in mainly two ways. We were all hoping for a lower price-point even if we were expecting a price on this level. At this level the adaptation speed of VR-headsets will be much lower than with a more wallet friendly price level. This poses a problem with our decision processes since we all need a large market penetration of the tech to be able to argue for a vr-projekt in our boardrooms. My guess is that this slower adaptation rate will significantly shift the number of new vr-projects down to a trickle. And with less software released for the headsets, there will also be fewer willing to pay the high price of the headsets.

The other problem I see is that this slower adaptation rate will not help "save" an industry that has problems getting out of our own wheel tracks. We have, for quite a long time now, actually not made that many new IPs, genres or even game mechanics that has broken trough on a large scale. The challenge of making VR-friendly games would probably spark our ingenuity and creative side to come up with new and interesting gameplay to present to the public. We will get yet another few years of rehashing the same old games but with higher graphic levels.

This revolution has, not been cancelled, but delayed.

Posted:8 months ago

#20

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,606 1,679 0.6
My super fast anecdotal tale from popping into a GameStop after the news was announced. Of 30 people I spoke to over the course of an hour, only two said they could afford that $600 and only one knew that was just for the Rift and no PC to run it on. Eep.

As for the cost of a new PC or parts to build one, a new penny says most consumers still can't set the clock on their Blu-Ray players correctly much less build or update a PC into something Rift-worthy. Expect to hear a few sticker shock stories where some who thought they'd maybe just be spending under 8-900 for that Rift and extra games finding out they need to be able to open that wallet a bit wiiiiider so they can actually play those games at a respectable frame rate.

Also, crap shovelware will kill VR faster than annoyingly picky gamers who expect something out of a sci-fi flick. Not naming any names here, but my inbox has been getting kicked in the face by one game in particular that's probably going to sour some on VR because it's not even a good regular PC game, but IS Rift-bound at some point.

That said, while I do see a load of those Rifts selling to those who've followed development long enough who know the actual cost and are prepared to spend, there are MANY people who absolutely will not buy a piece of new tech without seeing it and trying it out in a retail location. You're getting a new digital experience and not a mail order bride, so there had better be some VERY well trained staff at those locations who can handle some snarky to excellent and obvious questions about the thing.

Posted:8 months ago

#21

Jan Almqvist Senior Artist, Electronic Arts

40 26 0.7
How does the "exclusivity" work in this context? What makes the 20 OR-exclusive titles not playable on other PC VR devices? As a developer, would I need to maintain separate SKUs for "multiplat" PC VR titles? That would be ridiculous.

Posted:8 months ago

#22

Alex Cole Artist, EightPixelsSquare

3 3 1.0
I think the biggest requirement for any VR device to sale irrelevant of price, is to have shop display booths to try it. until i've tried it, i'm not even thinking about buying, even though i have a PC to run it.

Posted:8 months ago

#23

Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises

509 348 0.7
As for the cost of a new PC or parts to build one, a new penny says most consumers still can't set the clock on their Blu-Ray players correctly much less build or update a PC into something Rift-worthy.
LOLOL, so true. I guess console gamers who want VR will get the Sony Morpheus, PC gamers will get the Vive or Rift.

Posted:8 months ago

#24

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,606 1,679 0.6
@Craig: *Ding!* Yup. My follow-up trip to GS today (and 38 people asked) showed that more people would buy whatever Sony has because yep, it will most likely be (slightly) less expensive, run on any PS4 probably right out of the box (and with whatever day one patch is required) and get them gaming sooner.

That and the content will be there with both new IP and possibly reworked/new versions of classics (as in prepare to buy Uncharted VR or something like that sooner than you'd think). 32 of the 38 had a PS4 already, 4 said they'd buy one for VR if the games are worth it and 2 were PC gamers on the fence because they didn't know enough about VR to make a decision. "I want to try it out first" got 37 of 38 votes, by the way. The one die-hard VR supporter just flashed a wad of bills at me and said "I can afford ANYTHING." before strolling off to a rather elegant looking SUV parked nearby.

Still, the pissing contest mentality is ON and in full force as I found out when a few people chimed in with variations on "The Rift will KILL Morpheus because of the GRAPHICS, man!", which made me hold in a few belly laughs because not one of those guys prefaced that with an "If you can afford it and want to play games you may not like after the initial thrill wears off".

Posted:8 months ago

#25

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

769 519 0.7
The issue is not whether Oculus and Sony will be selling out. They will be

The question is whether they're going to be selling out six months later. I have my doubts on Sony, Oculus has a much better shot because they're selling to a much wider audience, including commercial and academic, a field where Kinect is quite robust despite having fallen out of consumer favor

The PS4 doesn't have the horses to deliver on what people are thinking PSVR will do. And once were outside controlled demo zones, the limitations of motion interpolation will become far more apparent. Turn on the "smooth" feature of your TV for a preview and watch what happens.

VR needs consistent, solid framerates that kludged solitons can't deliver. People are expecting to play Call of Duty with full 360 degree views they're not dropping $600 for among the sleep (which is a great game)

Posted:8 months ago

#26

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