What The High Oculus Rift Price Means For PC Gaming

£530. That’s how much it cost RPS to order an Oculus Rift to one of our distributed offices in the UK*. While I didn’t pay directly as such, it’s still a blood-chilling sum to spend on what, for now, still feels more like a peripheral to use with a select few experiments than a brave new age of PC gaming. I’m not going to write about whether it’s ‘worth it’ because I don’t know and won’t until the thing is strapped to my face. But I do want to chew over what that high price – which importantly is significantly less in the US, though more still in other territories – means.

For a start, it means that there’s no way VR is going mainstream just yet. The price limits this to early adopters even more than its first-gen status inherently would already. And not just early adopters – relatively well-to-do nerds and people who work in the software industry. There’s no shortage of those – otherwise the high-end graphics card market, the Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series and top-tier Kickstarter pledges wouldn’t exist – but it won’t even begin to make Oculus mass market. I doubt this is accidental, as they’re looking into that side of things with the $100 GearVR (the next generation of which I pray is loosed from its Samsung-only shackles). You get the low and you get the thing, or at least so the PC gaming hardware market has traditionally had it.

Question is, will there be a middle? And will it come from Oculus or from someone else? There’s a certain image quality threshold necessary for VR to be usable for long periods and a wide array of software, so it’s not like they can just bang out a lower-res headset, but if Jeremy’s on the money about this year meaning a massive jump in graphics card power, perhaps in 2018 or so a combination of affordable GTX 980-equivalent cards and manufacturing costs dropping means VR headsets for the average PC gamer will be plausible.

Of course, Valve or Sony could both wreck any Oculus plan if they subsidise their impending headsets enough that they come in massively cheaper. Both have existent manufacturing and market pipelines to call upon in a way that Oculus, even with its immense Facebook backing, does not. Sony already makes a vast array of hardware and sells it internationally, while Valve have partnered with long-time smartphone manufacturer HTC. Those elements alone could mean a significant drop in tax, shipping and other costs. But with Oculus setting a precedent, they may feel that they don’t have to go too low. We shall see.

A good $200 headset would truly blow open the doors of consumer VR, but I do suspect that’s not plausible for at least a couple of years. And, in turn, it means it may be some time before there’s a healthy spread of full-fat games to use my Rift with (not that it’ll be here until June, dammitall). Oculus claim 100 games will be available by year’s end, but I’m not yet expecting many of these to be more than simple things and experiments. But hell, the experiments are half the reason I want this – that’s where the ambition will come in, not from VR shooty-bang games.

Something that’s concerned me almost more than the price is the widespread sneering I saw directed at people who were disappointed about said price. Time and again, Twitter belched refrains upon “so you’ll spend $600 on an iPhone but this is too much?” or “if you’re a PC gamer clearly you can afford this.” Never mind comparing apples to oranges – or systems to peripherals – there are some wild misconceptions about the mainstream of PC gaming and indeed smartphone ownership there. Yes, there are people who buy a high-end new graphics card and, in fewer cases, processors each year. But most of us don’t. We can’t. Or, at least, we can’t comfortably.

It’s a big deal to spend £300 every couple of years to get a newish mid-range card so we can keep up with the Joneses – it’s something that has to be prepared for. (And I did prepare for the Oculus, having carefully budgeted around Christmas to keep £350 free, hence feeling shocked and let down when the final price was much higher. I was only able to do this because we need one on RPS, so the company helped out).

As for processors, the lack of serious competition to Intel means there’s been no actual need to upgrade for over half a decade. While there are a significant number of people spending £1500 on a whole new PC or components thereof regularly, they are not the norm for that millions-strong playerbase. The reality is that the average PC gamer is spending less than £500 every two to three years, so to argue that another £530 on top of that is no big deal is insulting. Don’t judge us all by that small group who wear ‘master race’ badges with discomfiting pride.

Smartphones too – I don’t know if it’s a bit different in the US, but over here we have two-year contracts that cost us around £30 per month, or a lot less if we go for an older or lower-spec model. Some buy the new iPhone outright every year, but most of us are making small, manageable (if ultimately higher) payments – £500 off the bat is not an easy ask, especially not on top of that.

I’m not saying this to argue that Oculus is necessarily too high for what it is and what it promises, but simply to state that it is not entitlement or tightness that has dissaused many people from jumping right aboard the Oculus train. The technology is still unproven, it’s dependent on having the right PC hardware already, competitors are looming, and ultimately almost no-one knows quite what they’re buying, and whether it’ll be something they use every day or for five minutes a month until it starts gathering dust. That was certainly the case for my DK2, though I remain hopeful that the consumer model will be far more comfortable for long-term play, as well as a bit more widespread.

Still, no-one can realistically argue that your average gamer could or should just slap down £530 on spec, but nor would I argue that Oculus has done this blindly. They’re seeding rich early adopters with the best hardware they could make, in the hope they will then become evangelists which, further down the line, will help sell lesser hardware to less wealthy people. That’s how the graphics card markets works, after all: the enthusiasts lionise the top-end, which shares a partial name with less powerful but more affordable mid and low-range cards.

But it’s ifs and maybes, and not the opening salvo I was hoping for. The age of VR has only just begun, and if someone doesn’t come out with something cheaper within the next few years, it’ll die like 3D TV did. I don’t want that to happen. I think VR is great. But it’s not going to work long-term if only a select, affluent few can have it.

Save us, Gabei-wan Kenobi. You’re our only hope.

* I.e. my study/bedroom/box storage room. We is professionals.

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197 Comments

  1. mavrik says:

    If it costs 500 GBP to manufature, it costs 500GBP to manufacture. Unless you want to pay for it in some other hidden way as a tax, there’s just no way around it and no amount of whining will really help until manufacturing processes improve. You just can’t generate 500GBP worth of value from a user with ads.

    And you can’t improve tooling before actually starting production runs in most cases. It’s an early adopter hardware, it’ll improve in time. Until then people who have money will subsidize users waiting for it and that’s just fine.

    • mavrik says:

      Also the “sneering” comes from the typical PC Gamer entitlement wave that followed the announcement where gamers just expected a company to run at a complete loss to give them what they want. It’s annoying and surfaces a lot :/

      • HappyCerberus says:

        Doesn’t really explain why it is bundled with so much junk.

        Xbox controller, a remote, headphones and free games.

        • derbefrier says:

          which are not factored into the price

          • derbefrier says:

            errr the controller and games are not i mean

          • SuicideKing says:

            I remember them saying that the controller was at a negligible cost, but it certainly was some cost.

        • Cinek says:

          It’s easier to develop the games for OC if you know all the inputs and outputs. As a bonus: you pay relatively little for it, they say it’s just a manufacturing costs, so even if they’d remove them – you wouldn’t save much money. If you don’t like it – just sell the Xbone controller on eBay and you’d probably earn more money off that than you’d save from removing most of these bonuses from the set.

      • Geebs says:

        It is quite a high price to pay for something that might just make you throw up uncontrollably. I could get that same experience down the off-license for a tenner.

        • subshell001 says:

          these latest models don’t make people sick, vive pre or rift cv1. nausea comes from low refresh rates and bad software engineering or slow PC hardware. if you have the minimum specs and get stuff from the oculus store that has been vetted to work with the minimum specs, you have a seriously low chance of feeling sick.

          • Romeric says:

            I disagree. I did some work on the Dev Kit 2 and found that the most notable method to reduce motion sickness was to refrain from wrestling control of the camera from the player. Software engineering and spec certainly helps, but I would argue that motion sickness is in the hands of the developer and the experience they are offering.

          • aepervius says:

            While it is true that *some* nausea come from this, it is not true for everybody. I belong to those for example which get nausea no matter what.

            So I will be content to see stuff flat and stay not-nauseated. A pity but what can i do ?

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        The wave that needs to die out is this idea that a gamer entitlement is a bad thing. Leave the way of the natural world to run its course. Commercial relationships should remain strained between supplier and consumer, with each side trying to pull their own weight in any way they can and for their own benefit.

        • brutaldeluxe09 says:

          that principle may work for the tech industry but I’m not entirely sure I’d say that it applies to something like the food industry. Take the horse meat scandal here in the UK as a good reference point though even within the tech world you could look at the rise of exploding electrical items being imported from far overseas too.

        • Josh W says:

          I works from another perspective as well, developer entitlement and gamer entitlement.

          Developers should be able to make a reasonable living off their work, and make games that they are interested in, not having to change things just because of pressure or focus testing, and gamers should be able to play games within a reasonable budget, and have games of a sufficient quality as to be worth their time.

          Fulfilling both of those requirements means a healthy games industry, and to some extent, the broader and more exacting the requirements it can fulfil, the healthier it is.

      • Slackar says:

        Or perhaps the sneering comes from the fact that the founders of the company told everyone one price, and then almost doubled it at the last moment.

        As for the eventual price: the consumer version should come in similar to what DK2 costs now. “We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range,” he states.
        (c)Nate Mitchell

        “roughly in that $350 ballpark, but it will cost more than that”
        (c)Palmer Luckey

        • waltC says:

          I believe this will be one of the shortest-lived tech fads I’ve ever seen. It’s not even the expense, really. And moving beyond the nausea that some people will develop no matter the refresh rate, what we are left with is the gigantic disconnect between what people imagine VR will be and what VR actually is. Can you imagine, for instance, strapping this thing on your head to watch television, or a two or three-hour movie? Do you enjoy the feeling of being blind and helpless to react to your environment, or to interact with it (light a cigarette, sip a drink, etc.)? Most people will not care for the sensation, and will quickly feel an overpowering urge to rip it from their faces. That’s my guess, anyway. I think the reason they’ve decided not to subsidize the cost is because they know it’s not going to become popular except by some unforeseen miracle, and they do not expect mass production will ever take place. I think if they expected success that the pre-orders, at least, would have been heavily subsidized.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      I think the surprise stems from the DevKit being sold at 350. It seems odd that a full on product costs more to produce then it’s prototype.

      • derbefrier says:

        not when you consoder the type of components used in the prototypes vs. the ones used in the consumer release ( hints its all better and better = more expensive)

        • Deano2099 says:

          Really? Like what? The screens are slightly higher res, lenses slightly better, maybe slightly improved build quality.

          But the flip side of that is that screen costs have fallen since the DK2 came out, and this is mass produced hardware, so economies of scale will be at play.

          I also doubt very much that the £330 DK2 was sold at a loss. Expecting it to be the same or nearly the same price seemed perfectly reasonable.

          I don’t object to them selling at that price, but it’s likely because they haven’t spooled up manufacturing that much, and they know they can sell out at that price to early adopters for a good few months anyway. So they might as well. But it’s certainly not because it costs £500 to manufacture the thing.

          • Cinek says:

            Every single component is different than the one in DK2. And remember that price never grows linearly with the quality. Never.
            Also: Distributing high quality commercial product to the large number of customers is a completely different thing than building limited number of test units.

            Expecting it to be the same or nearly the same price seemed perfectly reasonable.” – hahahahahahahahahahaha. No, it wasn’t.

          • subshell001 says:

            yeah but the dk2 experience was not that great, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to sell that to consumers. the of the display used in the DK2 have fallen, sure. it was literally a samsung note with optics. hell, everything in the DK2 has fallen in price, because it was mainly off the shelf components.

            however, for the cv1, the two displays as well as everything else are all custom components. custom means it’s more expensive, but the experience is more tightly engineered.

          • harmlos says:

            @Cinek

            Also: Distributing high quality commercial product to the large number of customers is a completely different thing than building limited number of test units.

            Yes. Building limited number of test units is usually much more expensive than mass producing the finished design. I have no idea how the Oculus Rift guys managed to do the opposite.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            Markup.

            I am assuming that devkits are typically sold to developers either at cost or at a slight loss: based on this assumption it makes sense because 1) developers need to be enticed to both try the hardware and develop software; 2) a new hardware entrant needs a sufficient basis of software that it either directly operates or software that allows it to operate other, existing software.

            A nice software ecosystem is necessary to support consumer interest in this sort of tech. I also doubt these guys are planning to work for free; hence markup.

          • Deano2099 says:

            @cinek – laughing at the idea that it would be around the same price as the DK2 makes you look like an idiot, given they outright said that would be the case.

          • Premium User Badge

            Don Reba says:

            There is a fine illustration of the difference: link to imgur.com

          • MrUnimport says:

            Whether the CV1 is more expensive than it costs to produce is irrelevant compared to whether the CV1 is more expensive than people can comfortably afford.

          • Cinek says:

            Nauallis – DK2 was running on some random off-the-self components glued together into the plastic mold. Release version as a bespoke components made especially for the device. You really think that it’d be cheaper?

            Deano2099 – there was only one sentence from Palmer and one from some other dude, both happened before they announced just how improved release version is over the DK2. So yea – I’m laughing at that stupid notion that release version would be anywhere around DK2 price point.

          • shadow9d9 says:

            Just one sentence? Does sentence quantity negate hwat was said in the sentence?

      • EhexT says:

        It’s not that odd. What happened between the “it’s going to cost around 300 bucks” and “oh no I actually meant twice that”? I’ll give a hint – it starts with ‘bought by’ and ends with ‘facebook’.

        • mukuste says:

          They claim they are selling this thing at cost, and unless people have some real evidence to the contrary I see no reason to disbelieve them.

          • iainl says:

            Neither do I have any reason to believe it’s not priced appropriately for the expensive kit they’ve finalised on. Fans of the cars would be similarly disappointed if it turned out the new Smart ForTwo replacement suddenly turned out to be a million-pound McLaren P1 competitor, even if that’s how much hypercars like that cost.

            I get that Oculus want to present the best experience possible, and that’s how much the best experience costs. But after a grumpy five minutes, I’ve just resigned myself to getting the cheaper one when one appears, even if it’s “not as good”. Though I do think that some of the people complaining should remember that’s bound to happen. A water-cooled GTX 980Ti gives the best experience possible as well, but waiting a bit allowed us to buy a 970 for half the price and it’s “good enough” for most people.

          • aepervius says:

            I hate to be a cynic but… “smoking is OK” – all tobacco company prior to a certain date – “well if they say it then i see no reason to disbelieve them” (paraphrased).

            Well, *I* on the other hand will *never* give the benefit of doubts to an entity which is only beholden to its shareholder and could under the right circumstance see damaging other people’s lifehood as a “price of doing business” if it is cheaper than doing the right thing there are far far too many example of that some even very recent. Not saying occulus team would as individuals, but they are facebook’s now.

            In this case though I don’t care. But giving the benefit of doubt to a private entity only after money is seriously misguided. Those have to prove themselves, show the white paw. they should not be trusted on words.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            That’s wonderfully naïve.

            You should always, and I mean always, be distrustful of anyone trying to sell you something. You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not.

            Consumers should *always* hassle the producers to the max to drive down price.

  2. jezcentral says:

    Early adopters pay early adopter prices. It was ever thus. I won’t pay it, but I don’t begrudge those who will.

    The price will plummet soon enough as it does for all tech.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      If the whole thing catches on, then yes, otherwise it’s the way of the dodo.

      • MisterFurious says:

        Just like almost every other peripheral that has ever been created. These things almost always fail because of the same problem: there’s not enough games to make people want to buy them and people don’t make games for them because no one is buying them.

    • Xzi says:

      If it was in the immediate term I’d say there’s no way in hell I’m paying $600. HOWEVER, my pre-order doesn’t ship until May. I can easily scrape together $50 from a paycheck here and $100 from one there until I’ve got all the necessary funds waiting. Plus, I already had like $400 saved for the expected price, so really not a big deal.

      Ofc I might cancel my pre-order and go with the Vive depending on the price and the specs. In other words, I still have all the options in the world because of Oculus’ loose definition of “pre-order.”

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I suspect, in the long run, the decision to do Quality Over Affordability will be teh right one. If it was affordable but in any way lackluster, there is a good chance that could kill mainstream VR right there. Make something spectacular, and it will generate good worth of mouth and demand, enabling it to go mainstream once the tech (and more importantly, the computers required to run it) become cheaper.

    Of course, this all hinges on it being a very good experience. Alec will let us know!

    • Premium User Badge

      Nathan says:

      Only time will tell, but I think I agree. It’s definitely possible that a cheaper, but more mediocre, product would fail to inspire quite the same interest. (Palmer Luckey’s AMA suggested that they could have something functionally similar to the DK2 for the $350 price).

      It’s probably better for people to respond with “This is awesome, hopefully it’ll be a price I can afford in a couple of years” rather than “Well, this is cool, but it’s got quite a few problems. I’m not sure what the fuss all is”.

    • Premium User Badge

      cultiv8ed says:

      Totally agree. I wonder how many people have already been put off by Google cardboard or similar cheap solutions. I last about 30 seconds in cardboard before feeling queezy. Oculus putting out the best possible product will at least give people a glimpse into what will be in the affordable price bracket in a year.

      • LexW1 says:

        It’s interesting that the “VR is the near future of gaming!” crowd are arguing this both ways at once (in a very contradictory fashion). You have people saying the GearVR etc. are doing a great job getting people super-excited about VR, and simultaneously some of the same people, and others, claiming that unless the CV1 offered an amazing experience, it would “kill VR”.

        I mean, which is it? Is it somehow both?

        Personally it seems like Oculus and HTC have to thread a tricky needle here – I actually agree that providing a poor VR experience to enthusiasts/early-adopters would be bad for VR’s long-term future, but at the same time, providing a good experience (it doesn’t seem to be a quantum leap from the DK2, rather a straightforward improvement) at a price so high that you limit uptake even in that niche market risks killing that market through lack of support from sufficiently exciting devs.

        • Cinek says:

          During the first days they got more pro-orders than they are able to handle in half of the year. I doubt if that “limit uptake even in that niche market” is really a concern to anyone at Oculus, and the story will likely repeat with Vive.

          Seeing the queues for the devices – I’m not concerned about the future of VR. First generation will be successful enough to fund second – and the second one will hopefully include some low-end devices for those pissing their pants on the thought of spending £500 for a PC accessory.

          • LexW1 says:

            First off, there haven’t “seen the queues”, unless you’ve got insider information. We have no idea how many units they’re moving, AFAIK, and neither do you. It could be 5000 or 500000 (or more or less). If you do know, and I’ve missed a memo, please go ahead and show me the figures.

            Until we have actual figures, we don’t have a basis to even guess.

            As for “will repeat with the Vive”, what will, I guess is the question? They’ll get enough pre-orders for there to be a “queue”? Maybe, but without figures that’s meaningless.

            I do think it’s likely they’ve sold enough, but we’ll see.

            As for “pissing their pants”, it’s remarkable how childish the metaphors used by some people here are. I’m not sure what that indicates, but it’s very odd.

        • thelastpointer says:

          I’d say both. Cardboard (or solutions like HomidoVR or Durovis Dive) give you a cheap, affordable glimpse into VR (and they also justify your phone’s absolutely disgustingly super-high resolution which you would never use anyway). They are never going to be precise, fast, high-quality solutions, but you can view an Elton John show with 360° video and positional audio, fly around in Google Earth, watch short 3D animation films that unfold around you, and so on. Don’t forget that VR is not for gaming only!

          And when you did all that* and you are convinced that you need this with absolute full precision and resolution for your space gaming needs, then you should buy the Rift, an expensive PC, Elite, an expensive HOTAS joystick, and whatever else.

          * And seriously, do that — it’s cheap, you probably already have a phone, there’s enough free content for a few hours (and an exciting thing to do when you have your bored friends over), and even if you don’t have hands to assemble it yourself, you can order one for like $20 or something.

      • LexW1 says:

        Also if you think something that is $600 this year due to hardware costs (as they claim) will be “affordable” in 2017, you’re dreaming. If it was markup, maybe. Hardware means it is unlikely to drop more than 10-15% in the next 2-3 years.

    • shadow9d9 says:

      That is a fallacy of a false choice. This is facebook. They do not need to make money. They could lose on the initial units to get market penetration.

  4. Buggery says:

    Early adoption is always going to cost more, anyway? The idea that the technology would be released somehow at a price that was equivalent to a console was always a bit silly.

    With that said, I’m going to hold off my purchase until the next range of Nvidia cards comes out. I expect by the time that happens, there will be some competition and lowering of prices between HTC and Oculus. Plus buying a mid-to-high range card halfway through a graphics cycle is very silly, indeed. My GTX770 is currently very needs suiting, and will make for a lovely base to build a mini-PC for the TV.

    The headsets will come down in price, no doubt. It won’t be immediate, but that’s the price you pay for piping hot new technology.

    • LexW1 says:

      I wouldn’t expect the price to drop much in the next year or two. If it’s a case of “no profit”, as they claim, then it could only drop soon by them deciding to eat a loss, which seems unlikely. In, say, 3 years it might drop a bit, though I’d expect more like 10-20% than the 50%+ it’d need to “go big”.

      More likely a significantly lower-quality, lower production-cost unit will appear as the mass-market version in a year or two. That should benefit from some “lessons learned” though, so despite cheaper components may have some sort of advantage.

  5. frogmanalien says:

    I think it’s been said well before- but £350 bought people prototypes, so how can the mass produced, economies of scale powered version cost more?

    With that said, I’m OK with it costing a lot but I worry about the longer term repercussions. The problem with high barriers to entry is that it may discourage further interested from the edge cases who may show us something new- be it the indie dev or the quirky productivity application developer who could capture the world’s attention and drive sales (and thus future prices) down. I also worry that it’ll kick off a new wave of kickstarters who will try and undercut (and cut too many corners) the big boys and result in those who do experience these attempts and find them disappointing being turned off VR…

    • NeilisDead says:

      The microphone stand is for the motion tracking the XBone controller is provided at cost by MS and guarantees a common platform for developers until touch arrives. The remote provides compatibility with early GearVR applications and is designed as a lightweight single handed controller mainly for none gaming applications.

      I believe figures of $15-20 maybe cheaper for the bundled items has been mentioned so it was crazy not to include them.

      HTH.

    • aepervius says:

      How it could cost more ? Easily. You amy for example give dev kit which do not respect some norm on security or robustness, simply because , hey, they are dev kits. But come to release to public and bam, you gotta use specific component, designs, and maybe what would be acceptable for manipulation by a dev would not be for public and you gotta add more components, and price skyrocket.

      People saying that a prototype cost more than a final product are not always correct.

  6. Kefren says:

    The thing is, I want the headset, but not the games or the microphone stand thingy (what is that?) or the Xbox controller. Maybe that would save money. My PC will play Witcher 3 but according to Oculus it is too low-powered for OR games. The twist is, I don’t want to play new games on it, just older ones. Quake, System Shock 2, Mirror’s Edge, Oblivion etc. I think the supported games in VorpX would keep me entertained for about a decade as it is. I suppose a question is – will they set the Rift up so it will just refuse to work on PCs below the spec (even though they actually would run those games), or if it will be open so that it’s up to you.

    • NeilisDead says:

      see my reply above.

      • Kefren says:

        Many thanks. I’ve read a load of articles on VR and Oculus in the last year, and even more in the last weeks, but there are quite a few things they don’t explain.

        “The microphone stand is for the motion tracking”
        Ah, I didn’t realise that. For some reason I thought the Rift did it all with gyroscopes etc, and it was only the Vive that needed some kind of base station that observed the headset. My error.

        “the XBone controller is provided at cost by MS and guarantees a common platform for developers until touch arrives”
        Weird, I’d have assumed the mouse and keyboard would be the common platform on PC. Does that mean games won’t work without the Xbox controller? I still don’t understand: any PC game in an ideal world would work with either mouse/keyboard or with a game controller/joystick, so everyone is covered; in which case it seemed strange to me to include a controller that many people won’t use anyway, or where they already have one they’d prefer to use. Not my job to second guess them though, I’m sure it makes sense at some level.

        “The remote provides compatibility with early GearVR applications and is designed as a lightweight single handed controller mainly for none gaming applications.”
        Again, I’d just be using a mouse and keyboard, so it would just be something to leave in the box.

        Is there a page anywhere that says which of the things use batteries and which use cables; and whether the batteries are changeable or not? One of the reasons I wouldn’t use things like an iPhone where you can’t just replace the rechargeable battery with a new one when it gets old.

        • quintesse says:

          Weird, I’d have assumed the mouse and keyboard would be the common platform on PC.

          And how would you find your mouse and keyboard with VR goggles on your head obscuring your vision? ;)

          (Although the Vive might actually make that possible with the integrated camera it has)

          • Kefren says:

            Weeell… same way I find it when I’m playing System Shock in the dark. My desk setup means it is always in the same place, I just reach forward 6 inches and by the magic of gravity they’re there! :-)
            Plus, because I use arrows and the blocks of keys around them to play games, I find the keys I need by feel, the space around the arrows lets me get there immediately (whereas with WASD I’d be feeling for a little ridge in the dark).
            Plus I always put down any controller during cutscenes or non-interactive bits (which is why I never suffer from RSI after THAT year), so I’d be putting the controller down anyway, probably somewhere less easy to find without 15 years of muscle memory that finds me the mouse and keyboard…
            But I do get your point. I’m just weird.

          • Cinek says:

            And how would you find your mouse and keyboard with VR goggles on your head obscuring your vision?” – it’s not a problem, really. I tried with DK2, it works fine. Unless you’re one of those people that need to look at the keyboard while playing games…

        • SuicideKing says:

          A controller exists because of the problem that some of us noticed when RPS first wrote about their experiences with the Rift (I think that was Alec) – You can’t see the keyboard with that thing on.

          • Thornback says:

            But surely this wouldn’t be a problem at all in say most standard WASD controlled games?

            I can easily put my hand on my keyboard and know where it is since ASD is right next to the Caps Lock, which is a very different key to those surrounding it.

            I mean I can’t imagine people have to keep looking at the keyboard to check where the reload key is! Let’s face it, most of us PC gamers can probably put our fingers on WASD, Q, E, R, F, Shift, Ctrl and Space without any thought.

          • Kefren says:

            See my comment above! Which sort of agrees with the comment below.

          • Kefren says:

            Great, I got that wrong, both comments are above, but I can’t edit it now it’s added my post. I miss the edit button! I didn’t appreciate it until it left me.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Playing in the dark doesn’t make you feel as blind as having something completely obstructing your vision, just like actively not looking at the keyboard is not the same as being completely blocked from even attempting to have a quick peek.

          • Cinek says:

            It’s not really a problem people make it to be.

          • Asurmen says:

            Cinek, of course it’s a problem.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          I never much liked the “finding the keyboard and mouse” argument because it’s usually presented flippantly, but it does have various amounts of merit, depending on the user and their environment. And what’s more is trying to maintain that contact so you can move and open doors and so on while your torso and head spazz about. Certainly possible, like finding the controls in the first place, but much easier with a gamepad unless you velcro a mouse to your trousers and play a game which uses only the buttons. I mostly dislike gamepads, but I think it was a good choice to make them a default input device while they finish the motion controllers because of the above lazy reasoning.

          Regarding the mini controller thing, it’s been said (and I agree) that it’s generally not for us — it’s for getting our non-gamer friends and family and stolen hobos to play Diet Portal and things. Should also be good for lazily browsing VR Netflix when the kb&m and xbone controllers are deemed too far away or too heavy to lift.

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            This was in reply to most of the above replies, as opposed to the comment to which I replied.
            >_>
            <_<

          • Kefren says:

            All reasonable points. It’s just that I imagine mainly using VR for first person perspectives, and I can only play them with a keyboard and mouse, but I accept that’s just me. (I have tried – I had to do that on my Xbox and later Xbox 360. Completed many FPS games but always hated the controls and felt the controller was a struggle/barrier rather than intuitive; once I stopped playing FPS games on consoles I was so relieved to go back to a control scheme that felt natural and accurate to me).

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            And you have even more reasonable points, which which I totally agree.

            But! As I’ve mentioned probably-below, turning without using my head kills a large part of the immersion for me, so I try to play in VR while standing up, when possible. (Not that I play in VR regularly these days.) Since FPSes generally use a lot of buttons, and I had until recently neither a many-buttoned mouse nor the thought to re-bind the keyboard for one-handed controls (it’s hard to keep it aloft without those velcro trousers or some crazy rig), I picked up a controller and suffered through it. Turning with a controller still kills immersion for me, of course. Shooting with my face doesn’t, oddly, so I’ll have to try the one-handed keyboard thing at some point, if only just for chuckles.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            It’s quite fitting then that the one game people will be playing most with the technology will be called “Elite”

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Hm, that was meant to be a reply to the article, I wonder how it got here?

    • thelastpointer says:

      I guess it will work, but maybe with lower FPS than the recommended setting. Note that this is a much more serious issue than traditional gaming.

      Also, you don’t want to try Quake in VR. Trust me.

      • Kefren says:

        Well, I will fully admit that the experience I see in my head may not be matched in reality! It’s just that I played Quake so much years ago that the idea of playing it again, but feeling that I am really “in” the game/castle is one of the things that excites me about VR. Like being sucked into the game world in Tron.

        • thelastpointer says:

          You didn’t trust me on this ;)

          I have experience with the DK’s, and the presence — the presence is awesome. It is a really new perspective!

          However, the movement model in Quake (especially Quake) is completely unnatural, and the moment you press ‘W’, your whole body and inner ear is going to scream. Or at least mine did. Running backwards gave instant nausea for the whole office. It was sickening and amazing at the same time… and I believe you need a new movement model to fix that, the upgraded display and whatnot is not going to fix this easily.

          • Kefren says:

            Thanks, doesn’t sound pleasant!

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            I totally agree, but I must say that, being conveniently resistant to motion sickness, Quake and the couple of Source games I tried are still fun as balls in VR, although immersion went way down after gradually reverting to turning with the mouse.

            Your mentioning the movement model makes me want mods tweaking some “old” games for a walking pace and head-controlled dodging and stuff. Quake wouldn’t Quake without the original movement, but its levels are still something I’ve love to walk around in VR. Oh man…I’d be happy with just the shareware Quake levels and the Unreal intro castle! It’d be as cool as finally visiting Liberty Island after all these years of playing Deus Ex, but with less smellovision and fewer National Security Pat-Downs™.

    • quintesse says:

      or if it will be open so that it’s up to you

      Palmer said on Reddit that they won’t limit running on the system you want, it will be your responsibility.

      • Kefren says:

        Many thanks, that was exactly what I wanted to know and hadn’t seen. I’ve come across things in the past that had artificial limiters/refusals built in, presumably for marketing reasons (i.e. so the people didn’t post videos of the game looking slightly blocky or something, and the publisher assuming people would think the game always looked like that).

  7. rexx.sabotage says:

    Amen Alec, the struggle is real. I mean my phone has buttons, actual buttons! $600 is a considerable chunk of change no matter how you spend it.

    • Mr_Blastman says:

      Mine too. I use a flip phone! And I like it. And I won’t be buying VR for 600 bucks a unit plus the 350 bucks it will cost to get a fast enough GPU (970 GTX) to run it. It ain’t happening. Not with my wife having to quit teaching due to serious illness.

      Sorry Oculus, but you either lower your prices or take a hike.

  8. Bull0 says:

    Neat, a load of exactly the kind of comments Alec was talking about. Waiting for this snarky elitist bullshit to die down is as good a reason as any to put off getting involved with VR until 2nd or 3rd gen.

  9. Spuzzell says:

    I just don’t expect the same level of naive entitlement from RPS as I do from PC Gamer et al.

    The thing is expensive because the thing is expensive.

    Please stop crying about the asking price as if the cost is a personal insult to you, it’s more than a little cringe inducing to read.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Please point to the specific instance of entitlement and crying in the article. Quote it. I’ve read it twice now, and I can see it mention that it’s astonishingly expensive (it is) and that the price is a bit of a let down (it is) and it’s out of reach of most people beyond hardcore enthusiasts. (it is.) None of this is entitlement. So, if you’d be so kind?

      • Spuzzell says:

        This whole article, the several that preceded it, Facebook post headlines and Twitter have ALL been one long, extended complaint about how the writer saved up for the shiny thing, then the shiny thing cost more than the savings and that made the shiny thing bad.

        As if the only measure of the first iteration of a brand new technology worth considering was the writers personal ability or not to buy one.

        It’s self-centered and ridiculously unfair, particularly when Oculus are selling all of the units they can make.

        Personally, I’d prefer it if Alec stopped sounded quite so much like a spoiled 10 year old who wasn’t allowed the exact birthday present he wanted.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          I’m with serenegoose here – not sure which article you’re reading on the price of the rift, but it’s not the one at the top of this page going by your reaction to it.

          I have no vested interest either way and, regardless of price, I would want to try one of these headsets before buying to see whether I think they are worth it, but Alec’s article is far less whiny than your post, imo.

        • Serenegoose says:

          The whole article? So like, y’know. ctrl-v some of it that backs you up. The whole article is doing it, so this should be really easy. Otherwise you’re just making a claim without evidence. As for demanding quotes? I said ‘Please provide one’. That’s a request.

          And I’m a woman. I’m not pretending to be king of anything.

      • Spuzzell says:

        And by the way, don’t walk around pretending to be king of the comments and demanding quotes, you sound like an idiot.

        You have all the authority of a terrified substitute teacher.

        • pepperfez says:

          You’re definitely being the asshole in this exchange.

        • LexW1 says:

          “Pretending to be king of the comments”

          “You have all the authority of a terrified substitute teacher.”

          “a spoiled 10 year old who wasn’t allowed the exact birthday present he wanted.”

          Good god. You seriously think you are being reasonable here? If so you are incorrect.

    • Cinek says:

      +1. I’m too surprised by all the complains from RPS about the price. One would really expect better.

    • EhexT says:

      Yeah the thing is expensive. A shame the magic spell that made prototype versions of the device manufactured in far lower numbers somehow cost half as much ran out before they started selling the consumer version.

      If you believe their “we’re making 0 profit on this” and “the extra devices in the bundle are free” you’re naive as hell.

      • Bull0 says:

        It amazes me how readily people have bought those lines.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          They believe because they desperately need to believe.

      • subshell001 says:

        it wasn’t a “magic spell” that made the prototype cheaper, it was using off the shelf components vs designing custom components that meet your needs exactly. custom components are expensive when you first start the manufacturing process. they get cheaper over time.

        the dk1 and dk2 were basically kits even you could build yourself for around the same price.

        • Asurmen says:

          Precisely this. I don’t understand the shock at prototype being cheaper than end product if your prototype is made from things that already exist.

          • Anonymous says:

            People heard what they wanted to hear. That’s the real problem.

    • anHorse says:

      Mate we’re the consumers. That means we get to be entitled.

      If some company wants way too much money for something it is our entitlement to both not buy it and bitch about the price.

      Developers/manufacturers of any kind aren’t benevolent, they are trying to make money off of consumers, any consumer is well within their rights (actual or moral) to not buy into the hype machine.

      Haven’t seen comments like the ones BTL here since I used to go on a console gaming site where you had competing fanboys

  10. MadMinstrel says:

    Well, I’m not buying one, but not because of the price (though of course that too plays a large role). The main reason is the lack of compelling software engineered to take advantage of the thing. There’s just no Fallout:New Vegas, or Witcher 3 for it.

    I demand at least five excellent titles before I buy into the platform. This is the same reason I haven’t bought a current gen console yet.

    • Captain Deadlock says:

      Basically. Bought nothing in the last two online sales because there were no games that I wanted to play. I checked several times, leafing through page after page of FPS clones and massively sexually objectifying Japanese comics games. Why would I pay the cost of a mid-range laptop to intensify the lameness of lame games?

    • BlackMageSK says:

      Here’s 4 games that are great now, you’ll notice a common thread between them: Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, Dirt Rally, Elite Dangerous. VR is absolutely phenomenal for cockpit simulation games when paired with the other equally expensive peripherals the simulation crowd tends to buy for a handful of games. Far better, cheaper and less PC demanding than a triple monitor setup. But I guess to be fair this is an extremely niche crowd.

      • MadMinstrel says:

        Sorry, not into racing or sports games. I’m into RPGs. I do like space sims, so Elite Dangerous seemed interesting – until I asked around and found out it doesn’t have much of a story like Freespace does, so it’s dead on arrival for me.

        • BlackMageSK says:

          So yeah, niche crowd. As it stands right now there isn’t really anything for you. I think it’ll be a while before anyone ventures into making compelling RPGs that works better in VR than just using a monitor.
          Most of the regular games which are hacked to work in VR are usually cool to see like that but a huge pain in the ass to actually play like that.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Yeah, for me the rift is the perfect cockpit simulator but I can’t get excited about driving games unless they’re called “Mario Kart” and they run on the SNES. The number of space flight sims (and accessible military flight sims) that were around in the early-to-mid 90s really justified the luxury of a good analog joystick. A real renaissance in these kinds of games would seal it for me. I already have Elite:Dangerous, a successor to Tie Fighter would do nicely!

      • Fnord73 says:

        This ties in with the pricing-discussion: At the moment it seems like gods gift to flight-sim enthusiasts. And not to the rest of us.

    • Reapy says:

      Was just glancing around at titles people are using the dk2 for. It looks like you can get them in a bunch of ones right now, but the head movement is probably going to be wonky because there is no mechanic for changing your head position. Still, seeing it in vanishing of ethan carter, dying light, fallout 4, arma 3 etc it looks pretty amazing. I imagine any walk about game would work nice like gone home, amnesia, or aliens isolation.

      I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be too much work for a dev patch to get the right head motions available to glance around, hopefully some companies will do that.

      For what I REALLY want to try out, DCS world for basically anything there, il2 if they have support, which I think they will. Then some car racing game, have been out of them for a while but I think the newer ones are supporting it and that should be really nice.

      That firewatch game coming out would probably be really nice. I think the survival genera like arc survival or whatever ones that are good would fit well. Minecraft might also be nice too.

      WOW would be a dream, I’d probably go back and play for that, at least for a little bit. But to see that world true to scale would be breathtaking.

      I’m really looking for an exploration experience with the rift more than anything. Part of what I like about pc gaming is immersion and getting lost in worlds, so it makes the rift a no brainer for me.

      Best way I can describe having used one is taking my monitor and putting it on my head so that it is surrounding me rather than right in my face. It still feels like a pc game, but it’s all around me, and everything is true to scale. If you ever found yourself preferring first person view over 3rd, it’s sort of like that, where your first person view gets even better, you have to actually look UP to see that 50 foot dinosaur coming to bite your head off.

      Also, porn.

      • Tekrunner says:

        I’ve seen this claim that the porn industry was going to be all over VR before, but is it really likely to happen? I mean, I don’t know much about the techniques for filming 360° without severe distortions, but it seems to me like that that would involve some expensive hardware, wouldn’t it? Would there really be a big market for VR porn if you had to pay, say, a $100 a month subscription for it?

        • Runty McTall says:

          I would imagine it would have to be 3D computer models with “celebrity” texture packs, wouldn’t it? To allow for you to shift your view. Would basically spend your poly count on one insanely detailed person.

          Gives a whole new meaning to “uncanny valley”…

        • mukuste says:

          Read something recently:

          link to fastcompany.com

      • kael13 says:

        There’s definitely Minecraft coming to VR. John Carmack himself spent a large portion of last year porting the C++ version to virtual reality.

        And yeah, that last one… If you’ve ever tried it with a Google Cardboard, you’ll know they’re on to something. Ahem.

  11. Mario Figueiredo says:

    The price argument is ok. But even more important is what early adopters are going to do with this thing and what can we expect for the future. And my predictions aren’t good.

    The VR industry is jumping into the game industry from the exact opposite direction we have been accustomed to. Where is the killer app? And where is the deafening hype that makes even the more staunched among the detractors afraid from posting their thoughts? VR is being launched with some consumer support, but also among doubts and scorn. The marketing for this product is just failing miserably. And it has nothing really it can hold on to. It’s just cool tech without a reason to use it. It appeals mostly to social status addicts or those for whom money is really not something they care about. It’s just another gold iWatch.

    And this is usually the road to oblivion. Prices will not drop. The product will just eventually not be able to sustain itself anymore. Without the killer app, no new market will emerge from VR. And that killer app cannot be developed for the current price tag. At some point those interested in pushing VR into the market need to understand they will have to be the ones taking the risk. As long as they keep on selling on a profit, the absurd cost of the tech will not allow them to open open their market.

    • subshell001 says:

      the notion of a “killer app” needed to sell a new device is such a load of marketing bullshit.

      what was the “killer app” that made the iPhone explode and caused Google and everyone else in the phone industry to take notice and completely change their product line-ups? or even more generic, what is the “killer app” that made smart phones explode? Facebook? Twitter? the “killer app” is different from person to person.

      • ScubaMonster says:

        Phones don’t really rely on their content as a selling point, it’s the technology. Sure, the app stores are important, but it’s not the same as a device being sold specifically for games.

      • ScubaMonster says:

        I realize that the Rift has more applications than just games, but let’s be real here, that’s the main selling point right now.

        • lowprices says:

          100% agree with this. Maybe I’ve missed stuff, but it seems to me like the Rift, Vive and so forth have been marketed as gaming peripherals, which is a harder sell than “a mobile phone that is also a tiny computer you can use anywhere”. Also it’s comparatively very cheap to develop the kind to game/app that people want for a mobile phone, compared to the kind of immersive visually-impressive game that is likely to attract people to VR. I imagine plenty of games that weren’t designed with VR in mind will add support for it, but will that attract people to buy it? I’m not convinced.

      • Istar says:

        completely agree, the “killer app” marketing bullshit was derived from console’s exclusive games and that’s the worst thing about the consoles by far.
        Oh I have to buy a different console to play these 10 games? Amazing!

        • Deano2099 says:

          It’s a *bit* older than that – the most high profile example used to be Macs and video editing software, but it was Amigas and Deluxe Paint and Ataris and Lotus 123 before that.

          That all said, many platforms have also succeeded without a killer app.

      • harmlos says:

        The killer app may be different from person to person, but you are still going to have to give potential customers a compelling reason to shell out €699 for a new peripheral (and I’m guessing many people would have to shell out quite a bit more to upgrade their systems to meet the minimum system requirements). If the Oculus cost less, the reason wouldn’t need to be quite as compelling.

        Disclaimer – note that I’m not saying the price is unjustified, I’m saying it’s too expensive for mass market adoption.

      • caff says:

        I do believe in a “killer app” but it has to be backed up by “killer hardware”, and I don’t believe this generation of VR goggles, or this year’s PC hardware, is good enough to be given that title.

        Yes this and the Vive have got all these fancy positional camera thingies and stuff, and they’re an improvement on the prototypes etc., but having played with a DK2 quite a lot I’ve realised there’s a lot more – particularly the need to increase resolution 3 or 4 times – that needs to be improved.

      • Archonsod says:

        The killer app isn’t bull, it’s why the price is a problem. I’m not going to buy one at the minute because I play a significant number of games which VR won’t actually do much for (this week I has been mostly playing Crusader Kings II for example). I can’t therefore justify buying a £500 peripheral that’s going to improve my experience in perhaps 10% of my gaming time – I’d rather spend it on a bigger and better monitor or sound system that’s going to improve pretty much 100% of my gaming (or for that matter PC) time.
        If it’s going to become anything more than an expensive and highly niche peripheral (think along the lines of the various control / cockpit recreations sold in the hardcore sim market) it needs either a significant price reduction (to the point where it’s an ‘expensive toy’) or a killer app to drag it into the mainstream (bearing in mind killer apps are not necessarily software – widespread support for some kind of VR mode in say web browsing or OS would also do the trick).

    • Mr Coot says:

      tbh, I don’t think the ‘killer app’ will be a consideration. My guess is sales will be pr0n-driven rather than game-driven.

  12. trjp says:

    It doesn’t cost ‘significantly less’ in the US at all

    It’s $600 which is £412 onto which you need to add VAT (20%) so that’s £494 – and the UK price is £499+P&P IIRC?

    £6 isn’t “significantly less” is it?

    p.s. for people paying in Euros it’s slightly worse – $600 is Eu550 – VAT varies anywhere from 5-25% and I’m guessing they’ve just pegged it at the higher end with Eu699 – more but still not surprising (most electronics have similar deals)

    • TechnicalBen says:

      IIRC Europe has different sales laws and warranties too. So they may have to deal with other disparities that are not just shipping and tax.

      • trjp says:

        The UK is part of the EU when it comes to warranties and consumer laws so no difference there…

    • Istar says:

      was literally going to write the same thing about the USD-GBP-EUR pricing. Seems like everyone completely forgets that US prices are always without sales taxes as each of the US states handles those differently.

      Also in regards to the EUR pricing it depends on what the exchange rate was when they set the prices, right now 600 USD (+20 VAT)=661 EUR, so the difference is only 6% (also some Euro countries have VAT of 21 & 22 %, but the final price with VAT will be the same in those).

      Also as the prices won’t change just because the exchange rate changes, it’s usual practise for companies to add additional cost to their product when selling in foreign currencies.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Err, it’s still significantly less money in the US though isn’t it?

      Yes, most of that extra money will go in sales taxes to various governements in sales tax, but we still have to pay it! Whereas most US customers aren’t being charged sales tax, because of how their tax laws work.

      The article isn’t complaining that they’re charging UK customers more, it’s pointing out the high final cost to the consumer, and analysing the effect of it. The tax is part of that price. It is significant that US customers pay significantly less for the final product, because that’ll change how they react. Why they’re paying significantly less isn’t the thing at issue here.

      • trjp says:

        No it’s not – most people in the US pay Sales Tax (sometimes two different sales taxes!) and this whole situation isn’t unique to the Oculus is it?

        Even if the US had no sales tax, people in the UK are paying the US price via exchange plus taxes, that’s a fair deal surely?

        People in the EU will suffer more as the deal is slightly less decent and there are some countries in the EU where the cost-of-living is WAY lower (esp when measured in Euros) – but UK is getting as-far a deal as it could expect, really…

  13. Captain Deadlock says:

    I can always watch my 3D TV while I wait.

    Oh wait, they were shit and no-one bought one.

  14. Utsunomiya says:

    I mean, six hundred bucks for a dumb gimmick? So that you can sit in a chair and pretend you’re playing a man that sits in a chair? Sold!

  15. Psychomorph says:

    Not gonna buy Rift alone because of the ridiculous earphones attached to it.

    • subshell001 says:

      you can remove the ridiculous headphones

      • Psychomorph says:

        They don’t look removable? Is that official information?

        • Slackar says:

          “Rift features an integrated VR audio system designed specifically to make you feel as though you’re truly somewhere else – giving you a sense of space and depth. The audio arms are removable so you can use your own headphones too.”
          link to oculus.com

  16. ScubaMonster says:

    It’s the same in the US regarding smart phones and contracts. If you’re locked into a contract you get your phone for far cheaper. Your average person is not going to buy an unlocked $600 iPhone so that argument is completely ridiculous. I bought a $220 16 GB unlocked Moto G 3rd Gen and that was already pushing boundaries I should not have touched for something as mundane as a phone. The only reason I even bought an unlocked phone is because I wanted that specific model and didn’t want carrier bloatware. It’s the only big one time purchase I made in 2015. In 2016 I plan on getting a new GPU if I can once the new ones are released.

    And if you can afford to buy a decent gaming rig that doesn’t mean you’ll have the spare cash to blow on the Rift afterwards. If you build your own PCs, most likely you’re going to be doing piecemeal upgrades after the initial big purchase anyway instead of replacing everything all at once, or at least that’s what I do. I didn’t blow a huge amount of money on my PC parts in the first place though and I’m still using a crappy GPU that desperately needs upgrading. I’ll never be buying high end GPU’s, that sort of price tag is just too much and even if I saved up I’d have a hard time spending that amount on a single part without feeling guilty and irresponsible considering my income bracket. I suppose then these people would follow up with “Durrr get a better job!”

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      More our less what our former treasurer in Australia said about people trying to buy a house.

  17. dirtrobot says:

    What’s more concerning to me is how many smaller studios went ‘all in’ with VR and not even counting how many ‘not good’ games they will make – there will not be enough units in the market to support multiple VR studios, especially considering both Valve and Facebook are funding several flagship titles of their own. Plus AAA giants making their own splashes. It’s not dissimilar to launching on a nintendo platform and competing against Mario.

    Finally, the splintering of the standard is going to really hurt VR gaming for a long time until either Beta or VHS stomps the other.

    Finally finally, no one likes to wear sweaty goggles for extended periods of time or isolate their peers – this will eventually shape the types of games and experiences for VR.

    • subshell001 says:

      Palmer and Oculus are interested in cooperating with Valve, HTC, Sony, etc in order to make VR succeed. They are aware of the Beta/VHS/Bluray/HD-DVD problem and want to avoid it at all costs.

      Regarding shared experiences with VR, I think there is a possibility for social engagement with VR, even with only a single person in the HMD. Potentially it will harken back to the old days of friends taking “turns” playing a single player game, swapping the controller around. For an interesting look at a shared experience, do be sure to watch this excerpt from a streaming showing off Fantastic Contraption VR:

      • subshell001 says:

        err, that did not link – it is youtube.com/watch?v=bM47bOeHSL4

      • dirtrobot says:

        Actions speak louder than words, we have 3 different headsets min. We need a DirectVR as a layer to work overtop of the variations of the PC configs and the headsets. Sony likely won’t care, they’ll have the only captive audience and the most turnkey solution for devs, and if Sony ‘wins’ then PC VR titles will surely migrate over.

        I know the fantastic contraption devs, and yeah they are def. aware of it. But once you put on the Vive, it’s really hard to keep track of the outside world, even without headphones.

    • Tutamun says:

      When I saw the price my first thought was that the indie developers will be screwed. If they expected a medium 350 market they now get a much smaller 600 market.

  18. lowprices says:

    Here’s a thing I wonder about VR: The tech is in Early Adopter land at the moment, and will be until the price of the required tech drops, but who’s going to be making games for it by then? I’d imagine it’s going to be tough to convince big publishers to jump in head first on AAA development until there’s a big install base, and I’d imagine the games that sell VR headsets are going to mostly be ones that have big, shiny Ultra-graphics, which are expensive as hell to make. Without the a large install base early on, what’s to stop the Rift and co ending up like the Vita or Kinect or the like, where people don’t buy them because there are no games, and developers don’t make games because there aren’t enough users to make it worthwhile? It just seems like all the people who are confident about the future of VR have seen something I’ve missed.

    • Istar says:

      big studios are already working on VR games, if I remember correctly Activision already said that 2016 CoD will be VR compatible.
      Also any game that is able to be played in 1st person will just need a mod to work with VR, there are pleny of VR-moded games out there that were made for the dev. kits.
      I wouldn’t underestimate the PC modding communality if I were you.

      And when you talk about consoles, Microsoft built xBox to work on stripped down Win 10 with directX 12 so moving shit from/to PC should be easier than before and Sony has shit loads of small studios that produce PS exclusive games you’ve never even heard about for both PS4 and Vita, so instead of downsizing everywhere like they have been doing for the past 3 years they can re-purpose them to do the VR modding for 3xA titles

      • lowprices says:

        But, again, doesn’t that rely on there being a large enough install base to justify the cost of having the small studios working on adding support? In the last console generation lots of games added support for 3DTVs, Kinect, Move and the like at first, but that soon dropped off when it became clear that none of these things were big sellers. I guess I’m just not confident that this won’t go the same way.

      • lowprices says:

        And on the point of the power of the PC modding community: that’s cool, and I’ve no doubt that they’ll come up with all sorts of cool things, but that won’t sell it to a larger market. Most people don’t want to have to faff about getting mods working themselves. Convenience is always a big factor, which is why consoles are so big despite the PC arguably being the better gaming platform.

      • Slackar says:

        “if I remember correctly Activision already said that 2016 CoD will be VR compatible.”
        They never said such a thing.

        “Also any game that is able to be played in 1st person will just need a mod to work with VR, there are pleny of VR-moded games out there that were made for the dev. kits.
        I wouldn’t underestimate the PC modding communality if I were you.”
        No matter how awesome our modding community is, it won’t change the fact that most games that were not made for VR from scratch, have quite wonky implementations of it.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    Honestly, I just want something that replaces my TrackIR — realistic head movement in a cockpit, without motion amplification, and without having to stare at my screen (still ahead of me) out of the corner of my eye. The fact that I get 3D and whatnot on top of that is a bonus.

    Sure, the Rift costs about 4.5x as much as the TrackIR. But it fixes all the issues that keep me from using it, and it adds a lot of bonus on top of that.

    I pre-ordered today, and if the Vive looks set to strongly compete with it, I may pre-order one of those as well. I’m willing to pay a fair bit for immersion and fun, so.

  20. rumtotinggamer says:

    Every time I see these things I get that scene from Demolition Man in my head where Sly thinks hes about to do the hunka chunka with Sandra Bullock but instead she gets virtual reality glasses things out.

  21. SamRia says:

    What about the VR-ready PC bundles that Oculus will be selling? $1500 for a machine and headset?!?! That is big news for me….as lots of people spend that much on a PC for gaming (or school as I did).

    From the website “Bundles that include an Oculus Ready PC and a Rift will be available for pre-order in February starting at $1499.”

  22. Universal Quitter says:

    As for twitter, you do have dumbasses in your country right?

    You’ll always find somebody who’s day has just been ruined by “all this complaining about X.” It doesn’t mean real human beings think this way, at least in large enough numbers to matter.

    I’m not sure why some people treat twitter with more respect than, say, youtube comments. It’s the same level of “bathroom stall graffiti” communication.

    • alms says:

      Dunno I see plenty of this “not even kids want or use anything less than an iPhone”. It does make you wonder whether it’s just sheer elitism or a real disconnect to a reality where low to mid range Android handsets are the meat and potatoes of the smartphone market.

      And I sure do read about a lot of people with high end cards and systems, you’d be excused for thinking only stay at home moms with a HOG addiction don’t already own a 970 at least.

      Just check the commentariat of any of Jeremy’s posts about cards and/or monitors.

  23. icecoldbud says:

    I

  24. Shizzle says:

    As someone who is an avid PC gamer and spends a lot of money on games and top-notch high end PC hardware I myself feel that Oculus is not worth the price they charge right now. That is very subjective of course. I could afford it but that doesn’t mean I have to own it immediatelly. Btw here in Germany it would cost me, with shipping, 750 Euros (around) 820$. Well I guess I’m not an “early adopter” so I’ll just wait… Cheers

  25. icecoldbud says:

    I see the rift and vive etc. as just another gaming system. And I think the pricing will eventually end up the same as the ps4,xbone etc. Consoles started out around 500 to 600 bucks at launch and now have fallen to around 300ish area. Just approximate prices here in U.S. So in a couple years they should be somewhat affordable and hopefully supported by a lot more games. Of course you will need a decent pc to go along with this which I’m not including in my guesstimate.

  26. Elusiv3Pastry says:

    Although I hate the price one of the reasons I haven’t preordered yet is that my order wouldn’t ship until June. I might as well wait to see how things pan out when the Vive gets released. Maybe the hardware will be cheaper or better somehow by then.

    I’d also like to see how well the two products’ support is handled. I’m experiencing Valve’s legendarily terrible support with the Steam Controller (hardware is bricked, no support response for a week); if they can’t support my gamepad, I don’t have high hopes for something as complex as a VR kit.

  27. ddaymace says:

    Oculus needs to get Demo units to mainstream stores like Best Buy so users can experience the improvement over VR and stereoscopic methods of the past, before purchasing. That alone will make the price more palatable.

    If they only demo it in a few major cities it will be slower going.

    • JimboDeany says:

      This. Unless you’ve been to a gaming convention most won’t have experienced this first hand and shelling out a wedge based on some reviews isn’t going to happen for most people. A few demo units and some who are holding off may well be converted.

  28. Zantium says:

    I was going to be an early adopter, I have the DK2 and I’ve been following progress since before I first tried the DK1.

    Like Alec, I budgeted accordingly. $350-$400 as many had assumed as this was the figure still being touted until recently. The last iteration of which was a couple of months ago with Palmer saying it would be “more than $350” when drawn on price, given that the target price had originally been circa $300, this was taken to mean $350-$400.
    The DK2 cost with VAT and shipping came in at around the dollar equivalent and so I budgeted up to £400 as the absolute max I could afford. I logged on to pre-order and got the same surprise as many others when it came in at $599/£530.

    So that’s me priced out for this year, I’m expecting the Vive to cost more given there’s more technology involved.

    Hopefully the DK2 will still be usable, it’s a decent experience but has lacked usage since I’ve had it down to sweeping driver changing breaking games that did work and a number of developers dropping support until Oculus stop messing about.

    At the end of the day, the price point goes against everything they’ve been saying for about 3 years, about wanting to get affordable, mainstream hardware out there for everyone to enjoy.
    I think the biggest concern is that if it doesn’t make a big enough splash, it’ll fail again. Less likely this time but many developers are feeling like they’ve been misled too into committing resources to what is now going to be a price driven niche market this year.

    • Hobbes says:

      In much the same manner, my upper limit was £350-400 on the headset, given I’d done all the prep work on the PC to get it up to spec for VR stuff, including the 980Ti as a graphics workhorse to power it. But this is a bit too rich for my blood, especially with it being unproven technology. So I’ll wait to see what the first iteration brings and then perhaps jump in as prices come down to more sane levels.

      The cost of a 980Ti I can justify because it wasn’t JUST going into VR, it improved gaming across the board for my computer, and essentially futureproofed me for a few years to come. I’m sitting pretty on a DX12 valid card now which has the muscle to run things at max settings without even breaking sweat (and will continue to do that well into 2017 and likely 2018). So viewed from the long term, that’s going to be a nice investment, and even if I sell it in a few years time, I can probably recoup -some- money from it.

      The first gen VR headsets will devalue faster than real estate in Chernobyl. At that price point they’re going to be great toys for those who -can- afford them, but will be outpaced by second gen versions within a year or so as manufacturers get to grips with the tech and figure out better ways to bring it to market affordably.

      Still, I guess the reviewers (who will get theirs free) will be able to tell us what wonderful experiences we could be having *wicked grin*

  29. davidgilbert says:

    Personally I think that at that price it could crash and burn faster than the VR in 90s as while the tech in the 10s is repotedly better it’s not like the development of early PCs from the 386s through 486s to pentiums to quad cores we have now, or even the pace of mobile phone development.

    To me it feels more like a tech made to say we can do this! now 500 pounds / equivilent please! which price aside doesn’t leave a good taste in the mouth.

    At least with something like smart watches you can see development origin and while I would not buy a smart watch I can at least respect their devleopment – with things like the occulus / VR you just see the base technologies and games companies pandering to the elite crowd, which again for me doesn’t help to sell the product.

  30. aircool says:

    There’s more to it than just the price, there’s the fact that you need stonking video cards, no doubt in SLI etc… just to get it working at a decent detail level and framerate.

    However, that’s early adoption for you. In a few years time, if the idea takes hold, there’ll be much better and cheaper stuff available, so I think I’ll just hold off for a few more years.

  31. Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

    I want a VR headset but my instinct is now telling me these will not do that well.. Like 3D TV the headset experience is too subjective, can’t be presented in an advert, it’s a step too far away from the ‘can be arsed’ factor; Fiddly – Extra effort to put on, take off and store… A return to antisocial, reclusive gaming just when it had emerged from the shadows.. Expensive…. Juuust not feeling it any more.. Bah.. I hope I’m wrong..? One positive is that as a peripheral rather than a standalone platform they will have a longer chance to gain momentum, straddling their respective buoyant games markets..

  32. Premium User Badge

    AceJohnny says:

    – which importantly is significantly less in the US, though more still in other territories – means.

    Enough with the price fallacies. You’ve only got the UK’s (and the EU’s) sales tax, along with price announcement laws, to blame.

    The US price is sales tax excluded, while the UK/EU price are sales tax included. Take that UK price, remove the 17.5% sales tax, and convert it to dollars at the current exchange rate of 1.45: (500 – 0.175*500) * 1.45 ~= $598. Hey, you’re actually getting a *deal*! (EU France 20% sales tax and 1.09 $/€: (700-0.20*700) * 1.09 = $609. Poor sobs)

    Now granted, the US sales tax which is governed on a per-state per-County basis, is usually much lower than the eye-watering near-20% rates of the EU. In my corner of California, it’s <10%.

    But look at it another way: that paltry extra cost means you don't risk getting bankrupt from a random healthcare problem! :p

  33. drinniol says:

    “I’m not saying this to argue that Oculus is necessarily too high for what it is and what it promises”

    Web page title; “Oculus Rift is too expensive”.

    Secondly, the high price doesn’t seem to have impacted sales at all. Keep your pounds in a bank account, they will still be there next year. The exchange rate might be better, too (hah).

    Third, you are getting what you pay for. There is no way that 2160×1200 res support is anywhere near mainstream. A 1080p HMD will cost you at least 50% more than the Rift. Even Sony’s 720p HMD is more expensive.

    Yes, the price expectations could have been handled better. No, it’s not ‘too expensive’.

    • alms says:

      It didn’t cross your mind for a minute that the working title for the draft could have been “Oculus Rift: too expensive?”

      …but WordPress gets rid of punctuation because those characters are not allowed in the resource locator?

      • drinniol says:

        It crossed my mind that there was a brief given to the author to whip up some righteous fury for page clicks, because it’s pretty unambiguous.

  34. geldonyetich says:

    Speaking as a person who owns two 3D monitors – one intended for shutter glasses, the other using alternation panes – I’m sorely tempted even at $600.

    This is not just a VR headset we’re talking about: it’s my next display device. I leapfrogged 4K gaming for this.

    Then I remember that the only game I even play with Oculus Rift support is Elite:Dangerous. Might as well wait for a cheaper alternative.

  35. Jade Raven says:

    I don’t understand how anyone could have expected this to cost less than US$500 and then you need to be able to have the graphics to drive the 1440p90 display or whatever it is. This was never going to not be expensive.

    As for the PC Master Race comment, I proudly wear that badge because of the unsurpassed capability of the keyboard and mouse input method. And another major reason is that software isn’t gated like on the filthy consoles. I would also contend that PC gaming is actually cheaper than console gaming for the equivalent experience.

    PS: I have no interest in getting a VR headset.

    • Avus says:

      You don’t understand? Because it was their CEO, the guy who design, manufacture and sell the damn said so….

      • Jade Raven says:

        Well I haven’t been paying attention, as I said VR doesn’t interest me much. But it seems unlikely that they would have subsidised the cost. Anyone could see that the parts look very comparable to say the latest Galaxy Note which cost about US$600.

    • alms says:

      Whoa, that’s a good impression, keep going.

      • Jade Raven says:

        What can I say, consoles are probably my oldest hatred. I have suffered a lot of shitty experiences with PC games because a console version existed. That’s why I give the Wii a pass, because it doesn’t try to pretend it can be a PC.

  36. Avus says:

    I will pay $600USD if it comes with their Touch controller.

  37. Chris C says:

    I agree with pretty much all the points regarding the expense of the headset and the PC required to power it, and the relatively high probability of a Virtual Boy-style industry collapse of a market that might never take off.

    But the irrational optimist in me has a surprisingly strong voice, and I did preorder within the first couple of minutes of the preorder site going live (despite my first VR “experience” having been with a Virtuality machine at the Trocadero Centre for about £5 in the early 1990s).

    I think that this is because I really, really want this tech (or some variation thereof) to succeed, and becoming an early adopter is the only way to give it a chance. As I see it, the £500 price is for a baseline experience that in 2-3 years will be blown away by a £200 successor.

    It’s very easy to talk down the chances of something catching on (“No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”), especially when it’s something entirely new (to almost everyone). We’ve barely scratched the surface of what might be developed with this tech in the future (assuming there is one, in this cycle). So it’s a classic gamble — one where I’m willing to bet that putting down some money *now* will lead to me getting better, cheaper tech, in a *successful* market in a few years time.

    Still, that was probably the worst £5 I ever spent (so why I’m willing to repeat the gamble with a couple of extra zeros on the end probably suggests I’m entering the midlife crisis phase of my life).

  38. Hyena Grin says:

    There’s no way this is a competitive price. My theory is that they’re launching at a premium to soak up early adopters before Valve and Sony get their foot in the door and start competing on price point.

    But if that theory is true, it seems really short-sighted, because Occulus has an opportunity to flood the market with their hardware and make it harder for other companies to find a niche. And at that point they’d also have bargaining power with game developers to get premium support for their product. Basically the Nvidia strategy.

    So who knows what’s going on, but I am willing to bet that once Valve and Sony get on the market, the prices are going to get a lot more competitive. Now is not the time to buy in, one way or another.

    • drinniol says:

      It could just be that the price is just what it costs to make ’em, and there is no conspiracy.

  39. SomeDuder says:

    Woah that’s a lot of words! For those who don’t give a fuck about ethics in journalism, here’s just 3 that do the job:

    Too
    Damn
    Expensive

  40. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    I now would like to know what John has to say about this mess. I used to laugh about his VR-pessimism, (the success seemed like a no-brainer) but I’m not in a laughing mood any more.

  41. kael13 says:

    Palmer himself has said that for your money, you are getting a great deal. For example, the screens and lenses themselves were specially designed for VR. No other small screens like that have a 90Hz refresh rate with super low latency between input and output.

    If you compare the Rift to an iPad or other tablet device, something that costs a fraction of its RRP to make, the Rift is being sold at cost price.

  42. C0llic says:

    While I’m a bit disappointed, i’m not shocked at the price it looks like these units will be retailing for. However, I think theres a decent chance the tech may catch on, simply because we have some competition in the market already. Recently innovations like 3D gaming have been pushed by people like Nvidia, so there was never much hope for a broad adoption base.

  43. tonicer says:

    *check his bank account* yeah i have the money … soooo i could buy it … but wait it’s basically made by normiebook … *nopes the fuck out* … they don’t get my precious data … nice try though.

  44. Llewyn says:

    I have no opinions on the Rift’s pricing at all, but I do like Alec’s new hair colour and style. That must have taken a hell of a lot of straightening.

  45. Unsheep says:

    Prices will only drop if sales are dropping, as long as rich people are keeping the sales figures up the price will not decrease. There’s no reason to.

    The extra costs of having powerful rig is not helping either.
    However if these costs could be lowered more people might afford to buy a VR set.

    Personally I have no issue with the pricing of VR sets. This kind of technology is quite new and probably quite expensive to produce. They never promised these VR sets *would* be cheap, they said they were *aiming* or *hoping* for a relatively low price.

    • C0llic says:

      All that is true, but only until the market gets saturated. By that point, hopefully the whole economies of scale thing will also start to factor and this technology will become more affordable.

      It will happen, providing they do well enough to begin with. Competition and price undercutting is also a factor, increasingly so the longer products like this are on the market.

      • LexW1 says:

        Hopefully, but saturation could also kill it.

        I mean, if you sell X units at $600, but that’s it for how many you can sell at $600 (i.e. you’ve saturated that niche market), yet it’s still few enough units that your manufacturing costs haven’t dropped meaningfully, then you have a stark choice – either eat a loss to reach a larger market, or keep the price where it needs to be, and hope that the market magically expands somehow.

        Competition won’t help if both “high end” manufacturers are in the $600 range and selling “at cost” (assuming that’s not a big fat lie of course). Instead we could easily have a stall where there’s no price drop.

        The only things that would break that would be either:

        1) Making a headset from cheaper, lower-quality components. This would obviously be a lower-quality headset, BUT it could benefit from “lessons learned”, so might be “cheap and cheerful” and even preferable to the current-gen ones.

        or

        2) Wait for components to become cheaper by the passage of time – this could take quite a while if the components are as specialist as has been suggested.

  46. Faults says:

    If what Luckey says is true, and the device is being sold at cost, and they’re hoping to profit off the Oculus Store, then I’m even more concerned about the long-term viability of this thing than I was before.
    Steam absolutely dominates the digital games store market. Everybody knows that. Given that they aren’t closing their API, one can assume that SteamVR compatibility will be a given almost straight away. What use then does the Oculus Store have? They’re going to ahve to play the exclusives-game pretty hard if they want any hope of staying afloat, and that in itself will do nothing but fragment the market.

    If this doesn’t flop super-hard I will be very surprised indeed.

  47. fish99 says:

    At that price, for it to be worth it for me, it’s going to have to be a great uncompromised experience and have a ton of quality games ready to go. It’s looking like it offers neither at the moment.

    Every article I’ve read about DK2, Vive or Morpheus talks about the low resolution and discomfort/nausia. And on the software side the current list of supported games is full of demos, experiments and games with promised future support which may not materialize. The games that do fully support it are mostly cockpit games, which I barely play.

    For mainstream gaming to start supporting VR, it needs to be financially worth it to them, which means a large installed userbase. There is no chance of that happenening at this price point. For the average PC game even £250 for a 970 is a stretch, that’s why cards like the 960 sell so well. £530 for VR is beyond them.

    That’s why this price is a shame, because it’s a missed opportunity to get VR to enough people where software makers will care, and where some buzz can be generated. VR isn’t dead but it’s stalled, at least until Sony shows it’s hand.