Here at PCGN we have an Oculus Rift. It means we can bring you updates on the most important advances in virtual reality science. Yet for every story we do on it, most of you guys can only marvel at our words and think “Gee, I wish I had one of those!” Our model is a $300 developer kit. The one you could have in the future might cost you as little as nothing, if the team behind the Rift get their way.
Talking to Edge at the Develop conference in Brighton last week, Oculus’ CEO Brendan Iribe explained that the company hopes that they can secure a business model that would let players take home their VR headset for free. “The lower the price point, the wider the audience. We have all kinds of fantasy ideas. We’d love it to be free one day, so how do we get it as close to free as possible? Obviously it won’t be that in the beginning. We’re targeting the $300 price point right now but there’s the potential that it could get much less expensive with a few different relationships and strategies,” said Iribe.
“You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidise consoles because there’s enough money to be made on software and other areas, then there’s the potential that this, in partnership, could get subsidised. Let’s say there was some game you played in VR that everybody loved and everybody played and we made $100 a month – or even $10 a month – at some point the hardware’s cheap enough and we’re making enough that we could be giving away the headset.”
“We’re not there yet, but we’re sitting there thinking all the time, how can we make this free? You want everybody to play it and the cheaper it is, the more people are going to go out and buy it. Today it’s a $300 dev kit but we’re thinking about how to get it out to as many people as possible.”
It sounds like a bit of a dream, but five years ago so did VR technology, yet here we are teleporting ourselves game worlds to experience things we could never do in real life. It seems to me the best way for Oculus to get a step closer to their goal is to strike a deal with AMD or Nvidia and get a bundle going; buy a new GPU, get an Oculus Rift instead of five free games. But regardless of how the team achieve it, a world where everyone can play using Oculus Rift without burning their wallets up is a world I want to live in.
Thanks, PC Gamer.