The Oculus Rift is now a consumer ready product.
All units before this one have been aimed at developers with the expectation that the person operating it knew the risks involved and some features might not work as intended.
The year leading up to the pre-order of the Rift was ripe with speculation that the device was going to cost at most $400 with other options that included a controller and other items that consumers new to Oculus Rift needed to get started. With the pre-order scheduled for January 6th, all that was missing was the price.
The Hype Train™ was full speed ahead with plenty of fans ready to plunk down $400 for this amazing device.
Then the Hype Train™ derailed yesterday when it was announced that the Oculus Rift Consumer Kit would be a shocking $599,
well out of reach of the more casual consumers who were expecting it to be something like a Playstation 4 or Xbox One. The subreddit /r/oculus erupted in dissatisfaction and declared that the Oculus Rift is dead and there was no way it would be successful at that price point. But that didn’t stop Oculus from selling out all of their pre-orders. But it could change before they ship in April as Oculus didn’t charge at point of sale and instead opted to collect when the device ships.
So is it worth it?
Is the Oculus Rift worth $599 not including the fact that you need a fairly beefy PC to power it? Well. Yes. It is worth $599. Whether you were expecting to pay only $300 for something that never had a price tag attached to it, the Oculus is worth the 600 bucks if you can afford to drop that kind of money. The display is top notch, comes with headphones, a head tracking tool and an Xbox 360 controller. Also two free games are included with and guaranteed to be optimized to worth with the Rift.
The Oculus Rift is another product that needs early adopters to bring the product to the masses. Will the Rift stay at $599? No. I predict that in 3 years we’ll see an Oculus Rift selling for $299 that can do more than what the first kit can do now. New technology is always expensive.
The VCR was $5000 (adjusted for inflation) when it first came out in 1972 and didn’t become popular in the homes of the masses until 1985.
The technology is obsolete, but you can find one for 2 dollars at the Goodwill if you want to experience “retro tech”
The countertop microwave was $3500(adj for inflation) when it was released in 1967 and didn’t see an affordable price drop until the mid 70s.
Need a more current example?
The first iPod was released in 2001, had a 5gb hard drive, had a 160x128pixel “high resolution” black & white display and retailed for $399. Also it only worked on Apple computers.
The first generation iPhone was also $599 without a contract and didn’t even have copy and paste. It still sold like hotcakes and now you can get a modern iPhone for $99 on contract or still pay $599 out of pocket for a new one.
So will the Oculus Rift be in every home by 2020?
Probably not, but the chances are pretty good that eventually everyone who wants an Oculus will have one by that time. It won’t be a device that is out of reach of the average consumer. The problem that has plagued Oculus from the beginning is that they’re a victim of their own success.
Technology has finally provided a practical, immersive virtual reality experience and enthusiasts are hungry for it to be adopted by everyone. Some have been waiting their entire lives for Virtual Reality to be science fact and now that it’s finally here, they’re a bit overzealous about how much this technology should cost and have to remind themselves that while the idea has been almost 40 years in the making, the actual tech costs still need to come down before it’s a mainstream reality.