The Oculus Rift price has yet to be revealed, with consumers and analysts speculating left and right. We’ve heard tons of figures, and possible windows, with the most recent putting the device above the $300 mark. Now it seems that that has been raised, with an interview between Road to VR and Oculus creator Palmer Luckey giving an even higher figure.
When asked if the Oculus Rift would hit within the $350 ballpark range, Luckey responded “You know, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. We’re roughly in that ballpark… but it’s going to cost more than that.” With past statements putting the Oculus Rift price in the $300-$400 range, it might be on the much higher end of that scale, or it could have surpassed it.
Luckey went on to explain why the price has creeped up so high. “The reason for that is that we’ve added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days. And it’s not a matter of ‘oh we’re selling more, we can make more money!’ it’s just the reality that when you make this thing you have to decide what tradeoffs you’re going to make; are you going to optimize for absolute lowest price possible, even if it’s gonna be a lower quality experience?
Luckey felt that with the Oculus Rift on the forefront of the VR revolution we are currently seeing, it was up to them to provide the best possible experience right out of the gate. “Do you try to say ‘you know what, this is the first consumer VR headset that we’re going to be pushing out to people. We need to put a stake in the ground and say: this is the best possible experience that we were able to make. No compromises were made in terms of quality’. Get the cost down as much as you can on that experience, but make it so that the Rift is something that everybody wants to use to the best of your ability…It would really suck if you put something out there and people were like ‘ah man… the Rift is good, but it’s not quite there’, you know?”
However, that work costs money, and the Oculus is full of very expensive items. “The Rift is a lot of custom hardware. It’s using lenses that are some of the hardest to manufacture lenses in any consumer product you can go out and buy. It’s using custom displays we worked on with Samsung that are optimized for virtual reality, in a lot of ways even beyond what you’re actually seeing on these prototypes on the show floor. And the tracking system, the same thing. We could have made tradeoffs that had… honestly like 90% of the tracking quality we had now, and we decided to do things that would bump that quality up a little bit more even though it raised the cost of the headset.”
Luckey reiterated that they can’t fully reveal the pricepoint just yet, but he does feel that people will be happy with their purchase. “I can’t tell you that it’s going to be $350, and I would say I think people are going to be happy with what they get for the price because I really do think it’s going to be that best VR headset you can buy.”
For those that are price conscious, there’s a cheaper option though. As Luckey points out, “it does change the equation a little bit when you’ve got something like Gear VR and when you’re working with partners to make lower cost head mounted displays available to people… it’s a different equation than when you feel like you’re the only person service the entire market, in that case you’re trying to make these balances.”
For Luckey’s full response to the question, check out the full interview over at Road to VR.