Oculus have taken a massive chunk out of the HTC Vive’s VR dominance by slashing the price of the Rift + Touch bundle. The latest Steam Hardware Survey shows the Rift adding another 8% onto their market share in August… just as they go and raise the price again.
To get a seasick-free VR experience, you are going to need a good graphics card.
Virtual reality has been going through a period of stagnation. It seems the initial die-hard VR fans were perfectly content with their fancy headsets while the general public at large were put off by the price and performance requirements.
Oculus Rift, our favourite Facebook subsidiary, came up with an original solution to spur sales on - drop the price. Dropping to $399 for the full kit, which includes the Oculus Rift and the Touch handsets, has seen Oculus whisk away some of HTC’s market leading position, although far from completely.
Unfortunately, the Oculus Summer Sale has come to an end, despite our hopes of this deal lasting indefinitely. Oculus will now continue to sell the bundle at the reduced cost of $499, following their price reduction from its original $799 price point.
It seems to have worked wonders for Oculus Rift sales, with the Steam Hardware Survey showing an 8% increase in Oculus’ market share since July. This brings it to an all-time high of 43.81% against HTC Vive’s 52.31%. In July, Oculus was at 35.7% and Vive 60%. This is by far the largest change in market share for the virtual reality headsets during 2017.
HTC are fighting back with a $200 price reduction on their similar bundle. For British customers, this slightly eases the blow of the post-Brexit £70 price increase for the Vive. Thanks, Brexit. This seems to be a permanent move from HTC, with Oculus’ low-low price of $399 only lasting for July - September. The price reduction has seemingly paid off massively for Oculus, which begs the question, why change the price back?
HTC could gain the upper hand going into the holiday season, leaving Oculus once again in the dust. PC gaming has seen a massive boost in sales during the first half of 2017 so this could lead to one of the largest sales periods in VR history.
Oculus have been pretty vocal on the fact that virtual reality technology is restrictively expensive for the general public. Pricing changes were almost necessary just to bail the water out of the SS.Virtual Reality and it seems HTC are already trying to jump ship as we speak.
While Oculus maintains its price point below rivals HTC, surely bumping the price back up again will lead to more stagnation of the market and enable Vive’s continued dominance.
Virtual reality headset manufacturers were bound to realise they needed to make pricing concessions if this technology was going to have a future. To their benefit, Oculus seem to have figured this out first, if not only momentarily. While Oculus have made some questionable decisions for the future of VR, such as exclusivity deals with developers, we can at least thank Oculus for the price drop of both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.