It seems like we’ve been waiting for a consumer version of the Oculus Rift for an absolute eternity now, but new tidbits this week provided a tantalizing glimpse at what we can expect from the VR headset when it does eventually launch, in terms of hardware, software, and price. Let’s touch on price first, since there’s no chance of the masses embracing VR if VR headsets cost an arm and a leg. Speaking to Eurogamer, Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey revealed that the final retail price for the consumer version of the Rift will be between $200 and $400.
A year ago I told Palmer Luckey’s story, about how he’d invented what would become Oculus Rift in his parent’s garage. He was the boy wonder swept up in a rollercoaster of success after John Carmack demoed his VR headset at E3 2012. Zoom went the Kickstarter campaign; zoom went the flood of excited, experimental game support; zoom went the increasingly massive piles of money raised by investors. A year later he was a millionaire, and now, two years later, he’s a multi-multi-millionaire, his company acquired by one of the biggest around, Facebook, and for a staggering $2bn. It’s against that backdrop I meet him face-to-face at Gamescom 2014, and I have lots of questions. I worry Facebook has changed Oculus’ priorities and that games – those things so responsible for putting Rift on the map – are no longer the reason for being, the prime concern. I worry Palmer Luckey is drifting with Oculus VR into a sea of money, on a boat stuffed with well dressed corporate clones who shave each morning and smell… neat. Bye bye games, thanks for the lift.