Go back a few months and I would have told you how amazing the Oculus Rift was. A truly revolutionary product, the Oculus Rift looked to bring VR into the 21st century, and into the homes of millions of gamers around the world. However, as the months have went on, and more and more competition has sprung up, I’ve turned a little sour toward the device, even saying that it was flirting with irrelevancy. The cause of my concern was that, while its competitors have been sharing info and are looking to release their product to market very soon, Oculus seems to be sitting on the sidelines, slowly preparing their product with little concern over what others are doing.
This continued with today’s Oculus VR Pre-E3 presentation, where a lot of new stuff was learned about the device, such as that it would come pre-packaged with an Xbox One controller and could stream Xbox One games. However, the important details were skipped once again, namely the price and release date for the unit.
These are, by far, the key pieces of info that consumers need at the moment, as they decide whether to buy into Valve’s Vive headset, or wait for the Oculus Rift. To be fair to Oculus, we still don’t have a firm price for the HTC constructed headset, nor do we have a definite date. We do have a price range though, along with a November 2015 release window. We know that the Vive is coming out first, with Oculus set to follow in Q1 2016, and we know that they’ll be similarly priced, with the Vive expected to be slightly more expensive. This is really all that the consumer needs at the moment to make up their mind, if they are going with the HTC Vive that is.
The Oculus Rift used to have the market to themselves, and the way they continue to present things they seem to think that they still do. Normally, with over six months till launch, we could be patient, and let them reveal these details closer to the actual launch of the Oculus Rift. But with Valve and HTC offering up a similar product months ahead of them, Oculus needs to be fighting back. The way they could be doing that is through information, providing the consumer with a known to battle Valve’s current unknown.
This could backfire of course, with HTC and Valve finding some way to lower their price to just below the Oculus, but at this point they have to take that chance. The Vive will hit the market first, gobbling up a good portion of the early adopters that Oculus used to have all to themselves. And without knowing exactly whenwe’ll be able to get the Oculus Rift, or for how much, there isn’t any major reason to hold off for it.
Oculus VR took the stage today and delivered on a lot of the things we wanted them to, but they missed the two most important ones. How much that will hurt them in the long run is left to be seen, but if they continue down this path, I fear they’ll end up just as irrelevant as I predicted three months ago.