The price war between Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is now officially underway, with HTC reducing the price of its hardware to £599/$599.
That's a drop of $200 and £150. Consumers will receive a headset, the controllers and a free Viveport Subscription trial.
The news follows Oculus Rift's temporary price cut in July, which took the device down to $399/£399. It was the second time Oculus received a price drop over the last 12 months, and followed estimates from SuperData that said HTC Vive would out-sell Oculus by 200,000 units by the end of the year.
SuperData states that the Oculus price cut did reduce the gap between it and HTC, but that the latter was still shipping more units. It therefore doesn't see the recent price drop from HTC as a reactive move.
"After a bump in sales from Oculus's Rift discount, Facebook's company has managed to close in on HTC VIVE's 2-to-1 lead," said Stephanie Llamas, VP of research and strategy at SuperData. "However, VIVE is still shipping more units, even with its higher price point. While it may seem that VIVE is dropping its headset price by $200 in order to follow its competitor's strategy, I don't think this was a reactive decision.
"HTC has always been methodical about their product strategy and is not known to make decisions just to respond to what other companies do. Now that people know more about VR and AAA games like Fallout 4 and DOOM are launching soon, HTC understands the benefit of setting a more accessible price for their headset. I think it will definitely boost the user base, especially if they concentrate on making the software side more seamless."
However, overall VR uptake has been gradual and some industry commentators have expressed doubts over the hardware's potential.
"Our goal at†Vive†has always been to offer the best and most advanced VR system and drive mass market adoption for VR across the globe," said Cher Wang, Chairwoman at HTC.
"We're continuing to deliver on that commitment with this new price for†Vive, making VR more accessible to a broader audience and driving the entire VR industry forward.†Vive's game-changing technology, best-in-class content and unmatched global partners are fulfilling the promise of VR like never before. With highly anticipated titles, and the upcoming launch of Vive†Tracker, there has never been a better time to embrace Vive, and enjoy the most immersive VR experience available."†
The HTC Vive team has also been actively boosting its retail exposure in Europe. European GM Paul Brown says: "Since launching last year, we have been rapidly growing our ecosystem and expanding our retail footprint across Europe, to continue to reach new audiences with Vive. Reducing the price of Vive during a key purchasing season we believe will significantly boost VR adoption to bring in even more consumers and content creators to Vive."