Oculus Rift Boss Explains The Price Confusion

by - 4 years ago

oculus rift

We first speculated, then we got the confirmation but had to wait for a little while before we could place our pre-orders on the final Oculus Rift. Yesterday was the big day and the pre-order queue was opened up to the public. At the same time, we also got the pricing that so far had been down to speculations and vague statements. However, the price tag of $600 did confuse quite a few people as we’ve previously heard of a price that should be in the “ballpark of $350”. That is quite a bit of difference and Palmer Luckey, the Oculus boss and founder, took it on to answer the confusion in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).

Luckey apologized for the misleading information and went on to explain how it came to be. At the time where the statement was made, quite a few people believed that the $1500 estimated price floating around was for just the headset, but it was actually for a VR ready PC system. And compared to $1500, $600 is more in the ballpark of $350, hence the confusion.

“I handled the messaging poorly,” Luckey said. “As an explanation, not an excuse: during that time, many outlets were repeating the ‘Rift is $1500!’ line, and I was frustrated by how many people thought that was the price of the headset itself. My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 – that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark.”

Luckey went on to explain the costs. It looks like they aren’t making much if any profit from this first consumer version of the Oculus Rift. It is being sold at cost. This is great for both the consumer and the technology itself, we need it to stick and stay around. It’s time for a shift in our virtual experiences.

When compared to the DK1 and DK2, the final Oculus Rift uses hardware that’s a lot more advanced and made just for this headset rather than off-the-shelf parts. If it had been released with DK2 hardware, the price would still have been $400 or more. With all this in mind, I think the consumers will be happy that Oculus didn’t take any shortcuts but opted for the best possible hardware right away.

“DK1 and DK2 cost a lot less – they used mostly off the shelf components. They also had significantly fewer features (back of head tracking, headphones, mic, removal facial interfaces, etc.) For Rift, we’re using largely custom VR technology (eg. custom displays designed for VR) to push the experience well beyond DK2 to the Crescent Bay level.”

Considering that most people don’t have any trouble throwing $600 after a new fancy smartphone or TV, it’s not that bad at all. I do however think that I might hold back a little myself and wait for a price around the $450 before I join the world of virtual reality.

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8 Comments on Oculus Rift Boss Explains The Price Confusion

  • grumpytrooper says:

    I think that the annoyance that most people are experiencing at the moment is due to the $350 remark, however if you stop and think about it for a while and look and the prices of brand new tech in general you will see that early adopters of new tech pay more, how much were 4k displays when they were first made available to the public ? how much is the brand new iPhone or Samsung s6 ? now how much will they be in a year or two ? or even 6 months for that matter.

    They shouldn’t have made any announcements about prices at all, that was their only mistake imo.

    • Jeff Ward says:

      Yeah, no. You don’t tell people $350, get them all excited thinking that despite their low income they might actually be able to have something nice, have them start saving money for it, and then DOUBLE THE ***ING PRICE. I’m done with any hope of VR. They can screw off.

      • grumpytrooper says:

        and that response has perfectly illustrated my comment, thank you.

        • Jeff Ward says:

          The thing is.. them setting the price here means the competition (HTC Vive is about it right now. Lets get real, headsets that can only be used with a console or that are just glorified phone cases aren’t competition) will set theirs that much higher, especially as badly off as HTC is financially.

          Edit: I was already in a bad mood when I first saw this news, hence my first comment being a bit harsher than it should have been. I’ve edited it accordingly.

          • grumpytrooper says:

            I agree with everything you say. My initial comment was along the lines of “if they didn’t announce the $350, not many people would have been angry at the price”. I also was a bit pissed off so I slept before making a comment on it otherwise I would have been a lot ruder to Oculus than they probably deserved. New tech is always expensive we know that, but when we were expecting new tech to be relatively cheap and then for it to actually be double the price we were expecting I am not surprised one bit over the general reaction to price.

            I am trying to see it from a point of view that I never heard/read the predicted price point. Again I say everyone has a right to be a bit miffed.

          • Jeff Ward says:

            The thing is.. this is twice the cost of the dev kits. People would still be upset over this pricetag ifthey had never said 350, just not to this degree, since not nearly as many people were aware of teh cost of the dev kits.

  • Jamie Oliver says:

    I was excited to pre-order this, until I seen the price. At which point I pulled out. I was willing to accept a smaller increase to the estimate cost, but this is not a small increase, it is closer to twice the estimate value. Just disgusting.

    I don’t feel for one second this can be justified by looking at the price of a TV, IPhone etc, none of these then require over a thousands bucks worth of gaming pc to run it. I think they have done an amazing job creating what they have, but what exactly is the adding up to that price tag? give all the raw processing power is done by my PC?

    I would love to see actual sales vs estimated sales, I bet they are not even close. You will of gotten a fair amount of people who could not wait no doubt, but we all know in about 6 to 12 months the price will drop to where it should be. Of course this also gives us the chance to see how the early purchases are running with it against competitors models we then get to chose from also, so maybe the extra years wait is in our favour. Still discusseded with Occulus for the over inflated price though.

    • Eoin Mc Namara says:

      The Occulus and VR in general is IMO just a fad that needs to come a few years from now.
      In 2016, we are seeing 16/14nm GPUs, which will obviously push the boundaries that we know of. But VR, which previewed way back in 2011, (the launch of 28nm) would have been held back by not only the hardware, but also the price of the PC that needs to run it.

      Maybe people just jumped on the hype train…and not one ounce of sense among them

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