While it’ll still make a rift in your wallet, Oculus has dropped the price of its Virtual Reality head mounted display, the Oculus Rift, by a cool $200 when bought with a pair of (essential) touch controllers. This works out to a rather impressive 25% off its launch price. Not only that, but the price of the touch controllers have come down, putting much more pressure on the HTC Vive.
As part of Epic’s opening keynote at this year’s GDC (Game Developer Conference), Oculus announced that the Rift with touch controllers had its price slashed to $598, from a previous combined total of $798. This is the result of shaving off $100 each from both the headset and the controllers separately.
The price drop comes as pressure from consoles and competitors continues to rise. With Sony’s Playstation VR costing significantly less than any other PC solution, and shipping nearly 1 million units, high-end PC HMDs are a bit of a sore point for widespread adoption of VR.
Thankfully, the total cost of setting up a viable VR PC is coming down. This is from a concerted effort from the likes of NVIDIA and AMD not only tweaking the hardware to better handle the 90 FPS load, but also help in the software department, such as with Forward Rendering introduced in the Unreal engine. This means less powerful systems are required to push the same frame rates.
When you also consider the huge price drop NVIDIA announced with the GTX 1080 (and the release of the 1080 Ti), VR is starting to become more affordable…. maybe.
Valve and HTC have not mentioned a price drop yet, but there is a good chance they’ll respond in kind soon enough. That, or LG’s first HMD might undercut both the Vive and Rift, but we’ll have to wait and see with that one.
Widespread adoption of VR is still uncertain. While there are hundreds of different mobile-based VR headsets ranging from the $5 Google Cardboard, to the $100 Gear VR, these mobile solutions are often a poor representation of what VR can offer.
The lack of any compelling VR titles outside of ‘experiences’ is another sore point, especially for those that have spent over $1500 for a PC and HMD. Still, a price drop for the Oculus Rift is a step in the right direction, and might be enough to push a few more people to purchase the headset, which in turn will incentivize more developers to create proper VR titles (such as Valves so far unknown projects).