Update 8 Jan, 2016: The Oculus Rift seems to be selling fast, as the shipping date has moved up even further.
Despite reactions to the price and Palmer Luckey's own admittance that Oculus messed up on properly telling people what to expect, it doesn't seem to have slowed down the sales of the device whatsoever. According to the Oculus Rift store page, it will now be June before any new orders are fully processed, months removed from the first wave landing in March. What does it mean?
You’ll need powerful hardware to enjoy virtual reality on PC - here’s how to build a VR-ready setup for under $800.
Well, probably decent demand. While we don't know how big the stock available of the Rift is, you don't start pre-orders until you can fulfil expected demand quickly. They've worked through all that, and this isn't the first time the site has updated, with dates of May having shown earlier in the week. Despite the concerns of the internet and experts, it seems like the Oculus is doing just fine.
Of course, that doesn't mean everyone and your mom is getting one, it's probably still a relatively small number of people next to the sales of your favourite game or console, but it's higher demand than I would have personally predicted. Probably best to grab one soon if you want it before the end of the year, mind.
Original Story 7 Jan, 2016: Yesterday, it was announced that an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will set you back a rather lofty $599/£499. While the industry reacts to the news, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey took to a Reddit AMA to apologise for handling the price messaging “poorly”.
Let’s have a little recap. In September 2014, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell claimed the final release Oculus Rift would “stay in that $200-$400 price range”. In October last year, Luckey then suggested a Rift would cost more than a DK2 headset - $350 - but that the price would remain “in that ballpark”. And now it’s actually $599.
“I handled the messaging poorly,” said Luckey during the AMA session. “Earlier last year, we started officially messaging that the Rift [and] recommended spec PC would cost roughly $1,500. That was around the time we committed to the path of prioritizing quality over cost, trying to make the best VR headset possible with current technology.
“Many outlets picked the story up as ‘Rift will cost $1,500!,’ which was honestly a good thing - the vast majority of consumers (and even gamers!) don’t have a PC anywhere close to the recommended spec, and many people were confused enough to think the Rift was a standalone device. For that vast majority of people, $1,500 is the all-in cost of owning Rift. The biggest portion of their cost is the PC, not the Rift itself.”
Luckey went on to explain the “infamous” ‘over $350 but in that ballpark’ figure he’d suggested at the Oculus Connect developer conference last year and offered the explanation that the ultimate price would be nearer $350 and not the one and half grand some outlets were still reporting.
“My answer was ill-prepared,” he said. “And mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1,500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 — that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark. Later on, I tried to get across that the Rift would cost more than many expected, in the past two weeks particularly. There are a lot of reasons we did not do a better job of prepping people who already have high-end GPUs, legal, financial, competitive, and otherwise, but to be perfectly honest, our biggest failing was assuming we had been clear enough about setting expectations.
“Another problem is that people looked at the much less advanced technology in DK2 for $350 and assumed the consumer Rift would cost a similar amount, an assumption that myself (and Oculus) did not do a good job of fixing. I apologize.”
Over the course of the headset’s development, reckons Luckey, he and his team realised that in order to delivery a product with “presence” that can also “eliminate discomfort” wasn’t possible at lower pricing - particularly given the earlier dev kits were built from off-the-shelf hardware.
Luckey added: “We could have released a lower quality product and saved one or two hundred bucks, but the all-in cost for the average consumer (including PC) would not have budged significantly. To address a later post, mums and dads would be paying in the $1,300 to $1,500 range regardless.”