Does Oculus Rift Cost Too Much?

Last updated on May 12th, 2016

Last week pre-orders opened for the Oculus Rift at $599.99 in the US (plus shipping and applicable taxes) which includes The Oculus Rift itself, Eve Valkyrie and Luckey’s Tale along with an Xbox One controller. After the initial sticker shock wore off, this price still seems to be a mistake.

Oculus Rift

A mistake you say? Surely not. Something that really should have been considered was a bundle without the controller and two games. Many people have Xbox 360 controllers that they could use for their PC, or could find a good deal an Xbox One controller if they wanted one. The same argument could be made for the games as well. PC games are notorious for going on sale. Many games can be found for 10% to 20% off MSRP at launch with just a little effort.

“But I want all those things,” you exclaim. And if that’s the case, you could likely still get a better deal on all three by doing some shopping around. If you don’t want all those things, it seems like a bit of a waste to spend extra money on two games and a controller that you are not interested in. This would theoretically push the price up or offset it, let’s estimate $100 to $150. Even launching at $499.99 or $449.99 could make a major psychological difference.

Why does the price matter? Install base. And while it’s important to Oculus, it’s also important to gamers interested in VR. A bigger install base pushes developers to make more VR games or at least games that support VR. This opens the door for both HTC Vive and the Playstation VR. The more gamers developers have to sell to the more likely VR will be a success instead of being left behind like stereoscopic 3D games.

PlayStation VR

If Valve and HTC can come in with quality similar to or better than the Rift and do so at a lower price, that could give SteamVR quite a boost. While Playstation VR will not directly compete with the Rift, many gamers will likely only be buying one VR device for at least a while if not altogether. Sony has no variation in system specifications and will have less demanding requirements. However it will also come with some extra horsepower for the PS4, which could bring the price higher than one may expect.

htc vive

With little details in the way of price (or even the release date for the PlayStation VR) for the competition the Oculus Rift could have a tough hill to climb. What do you think? Is the Rift price too high? Have you got one pre-ordered? If not, what VR setup are you looking at in place of the Oculus Rift?

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I've been a gamer for 25 years, from the NES days to the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Wii U. I play a little bit of everything from Mario to MGS to Final Fantasy. I write for examinercom and also run a podcast, though currently we are switching gears, more information to come on that.

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18 comments on “Does Oculus Rift Cost Too Much?”

  1. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    Yeah that seems too steep. But then again I’m not the target demographic. I’d love some VR and I’ve been anticipating the PS VR for quite some time.

    I will say that, if it’s anywhere near the Oculus price I’m out. Can’t do it until the tech is cheaper.

  2. Avatar Daos_Strange says:

    I believe it is too expensive for a peripheral. Unless I am misinformed, the Oculus Rift requires a pretty beefy PC. Suddenly, a $600 peripheral is costing 3x as much as the sticker price. Those who already have decent rigs will likely see it the cost of a second monitor or such, but for anyone else, it’s a steep price to pay to get into VR gaming. If they really want VR to stick around, they will need to get the Oculus Rift by itself on the shelf for $399 or less.

  3. Avatar Emergence says:

    I’m absolutely intrigued by VR and its applications for future tech and into areas beyond traditional gaming, like health research, virtual tours, education and more. As a peripheral for a game system though, 600$ is steep and does nothing to guarantee any kind of software support. I have my eye on the Playstation VR myself but I’m hesitant to be an early adopter if there isn’t a lot in the way of application support. I don’t expect the Playstation VR to be 600$ but with the notion that it has to supply extra processing power for the PS4, I’m a little worried that it won’t be something in the reasonable 100-200$ range.

  4. Avatar WhatDoesThePendantDo says:

    I have a good PC so, for me, I wouldn’t need to upgrade (though I still want to) my rig to make good use of it. But I’m still going to hold off for a while to see just exactly what it has to offer beyond just being a new and flashy new piece of tech. Concerns over software support, like E mentioned, being chief among them.

  5. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    I say this from an economics and science perspective. Respond in a classy manner please

    The history of media in our society has repeatedly demonstrated that long term viability of new media technology can be GREATLY assisted with widespread adoption by the adult entertainment industry.

    A couple thoughts, Oculus being a PC peripheral could mean they (perhaps not explicitly) welcome or encourage this use which would nearly guarantee success. Sony is highly unlikely to purpose a PlayStation peripheral in any such manner and will need to make a huge push for software.

    Remember. Stay classy if you’re replying to this. Might have to delete my own comment here

  6. Avatar Emergence says:

    Eh I see where you’re coming from Skare but don’t you think that’s a bit anecdotal? I know they are quick to adopt tech but are they really at the forefront of tech penetration (no pun intended)? I feel like cheap technology is the best way to get a large install base. I think it’s why the PS4 did way better out of the gate than the PS3.

  7. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    I’m not saying it’s the only factor. But if I recall correctly that industry has played a major role in deciding the fate of several format wars. VHS/Beta and Blu-Ray/HD-DVD if I recall correctly.

    And I agree that larger install base and cheaper tech are also a great way to go. But that’s an industry with guaranteed profit and widespread adoption. Unlike a typical movie studio which adopts a format by itself, I believe that in the USA at least the entire adult industry usually sticks together. That means whichever way they vote has a surprisingly large backing which means the companies producing the new tech can build a larger operation with confidence for mass production which lowers the cost.

    It’s the opposite of the PSP umd model where only Sony basically was producing the discs. The backing never grew, the demand was low and the costs never came down killing the whole thing.

    Also think of it in terms of content. That industry is set up perfectly for continuous new content with rapid releases and high demand. Any company that knows that’s in place can expect higher early adoption rates and sell each unit at a lower profit margin.

    Essentially what it comes down to is that it’s a huge industry that votes together on a direction which can be very powerful.

  8. MichaelVash7886 says:

    I totally get where you are coming from. I mean the adult industry basically won the war for VHS and Blu-ray.

    However, where it’s interesting is if I recall, they have actively said they won’t be officially supporting adult experiences. It’s been a long time since I recall reading that, so I could be wrong. Either way, I have another monkey wrench for you. What if HTC Vive is better and cheaper? The more wide spread a product is the more likely it will have support even from the adult industry.

    Also, plot twist, what if someone gets drivers to work with PS VR on PC. Think about how similar the PS4 is to a PC.

    Ultimately though, what I was trying to get at, was that I think the price, particularly since there’s no option to just buy the Oculus itself, is not very helpful to their own cause or VRs cause. Vive and PS VR could come out at a similar price (though PSVR would be doomed imo if that happened) and it will all be moot. I just think it’s a mistake to force a bundle and a higher price.

  9. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    I agree totally there. I was only adding another angle to it that could sway things a few different ways.

    Sony has announced a TON of software already and seem to be digging in deep. I anticipate a more aggressive price point from them. However I think they’ll go bundle as well. Camera and a game is my prediction. I hope they don’t or at least offer it as a stand alone item

  10. Avatar Forum_Pirate says:

    Yes, it is too expensive, no, that won’t necessarily kill it (though it could delay widesperead adoption for a long time.) 4k TVs first released in 2003 for way, way more money, and they are still around (and a growing market.)

    I mean, a beefy computer to use it now will run you 1200 usd, but chances are I can buy what would have been a beefy PC 5 years ago for half that. As long as they can keep the entusiast market from abandoning it due to a lack of software, that problem will fix itself. Which is, if I had to guess, what they’re going for.

    Though Sony could totally steal their thunder, especially if they have the foresight (they don’t) to let the PSVR connect with computers.

  11. Avatar Castielle says:

    Blu-Ray won over HD-DVD and it was only slightly better on disc space and opinions vary about picture quality. It was also MUCH more expensive than HD-DVD (about 2x) the price of a player if I recall correctly. I don’t think price is the factor that will determine who "wins". It will be more about how many people have it and how well it is marketed. You will go where everyone else goes. Whoever can convince the world "everyone else already has it" will win out.


  12. Avatar sparkly-twinkly-lizard says:

    Is there actually anything to play on the machine? Like anything that anyone here could recommend? Other thing is, won’t all games for this thing basically be in first person? I’ve never been too good with standard 1st person view in games, I know the vr thing is different but…

  13. Avatar Scar85 says:

    the biggest Problem i think is should that there is not a wide games range which supports it and just for a few games it is definitly not worth it….sure i would love to Play outlast like it BUT just for 1 game paying 600bucks….noooope – and which of the triple A-titles is compatible with it? ist more like a 4k Ultra hd Screen…nice to have bit but too overrated still and without any good use

  14. Avatar ViralEnsign_ says:

    While I’m also really intrigued by the possibilities of VR and the Oculus Rift I’ve kind of bitter about it’s release due to EVE:Valkyrie which somewhat drew CCP’s attention away from Dust 514 and EVE:Legion.

    Still looking at Valkyrie gameplay it’s fascinating what can be done with it though sadly I don’t think I would pay $600 even if I did have a PC capable of playing it.

  15. Avatar PhDChaos says:

    I would never pay $600 (not to mention upgrading my PC). I hope PlayStation VR is more reasonably priced for a peripheral.

  16. Avatar Hyena says:

    It’s for a very specific audience
    It’s not a consumer grade item

    Also they stated that they’re not really making a profit on it
    The tech is really that expensive

  17. Avatar Scar85 says:

    sonys vr is like rumors say also about 300,- (euro) around….but still my question is – if ist just for "SOME" People who are willing to pay the Price etc etc
    how MANY games will Show up where the vr is benefiting of? as an realistic look from developers side it wouldnt make much sense to invest lots of Money for…just an apple as a payoff – that should be not hard to imagine and understand also by a look on that side particular, who really would work for a minus at the end of the bill and stuff – even if you like your Job i would assume no one would do that when he Needs Money to live and specially to Keep a Company alive… (and even if from,naughty dog etc which are Support and serve theyre customers very well still, they wouldnt work for free also…)

  18. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    A lot of conversation we’ve had has revolved around having sufficient content (games mostly) to support enough experiences to justify the cost. I recalled a TON of PS announcements all in a row, but honestly haven’t followed the Oculus as closely (not enough time or money to go across multiple gaming sources, so mostly PS for me). So I consulted Wikipedia and honestly I’m stunned at the amount of software planned for both.

    Now, the usual caveats exist. A lot of this won’t be launch available and a slow release can be a killer in sustaining later support (looking at you Sony handhelds). If the launch stinks for either, large chunks of the lists could become vapor as the profitability will plummet. There’s also no guarantee that these games will feature a "good" VR experience.

    But overall, these lists are promising. If I’m going by target demographic and likely content, I’m honestly feeling better about the Oculus’ chance of success. There’s a large group that will adopt this because it’s really not much of an addition to many gaming rigs as far as cost. And second, there’ll be a much easier path to unofficial content on PC meaning they’ll easily win the quantity of available content race.

    But, Sony does seem to be putting a good push for content out there and I’m liking the looks of the lineup for PSVR more than I expected to.

    List of planned PSVR games

    Rift list of planned games

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