In a recent interview with EuroGamer, Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell revealed that the consumer version of their Rift virtual-reality headset would be priced around the same as the device’s second software development kit.
“We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range,” Palmer Luckey told EuroGamer. “That could slide in either direction depending on scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, business negotiations… Whatever it is, it’s going to be as cheap as possible. That’s really the goal.”
That’s a big deal. The Rift’s projected price puts it on par with the current console lineup from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. While the Rift will obviously fulfill a very different role as a gaming machine – its single-user design limits its function as a family multimedia center, for example – Oculus’ ideal price-point for the Rift still aims at a price comparable with consoles, budget gaming PCs, and high-end tablets. Such a low price point could potentially go a long way towards convincing early adopters that they’re buying into a solid technological product, rather than another gaming gimmick.
To that end, Luckey and Mitchell went on to say that their acquisition by Facebook has brought them new talent and has not, as many had feared, shifted their core focus away from creating a gaming device.
“We have a lot more resources to do stuff but I don’t know if Oculus has changed all that much,” Luckey argues.
“Facebook actually believes in this,” Luckey goes on to say in the interview. “A lot of companies buy other companies because they’re doing things they’re not already good at doing, and Facebook doesn’t really have any gaming initiatives. They’re spending a lot of money on mobile and web but a lot of people at Facebook, including Mark [Zuckerberg], believe that VR is going to be the next big consumer platform.”
How Rift fares as the ‘next big consumer platform’ remains to be seen. For now, however, giving consumers some idea of the price they will have to pony up for their own Rift should be a step towards instilling confidence in the new tech.