The Oculus Rift has been released for pre-order. With VR set to make or break this year the bar has been set as far as price with the Oculus at $600. With a price finally out there the big question is: Is it worth it? Most consumers have yet to try VR and it has become well-known that it doesn’t demo very well. This, coupled with the high price point of $600, does not bode well for the Oculus Rift. Most consoles at release do not break the $500 mark – the last to try, the PS3, did dreadfully at launch – and even then we have an understanding that it should last us 6-10 years, along with an expansive library of games to come over time. It is hard to see casual gamers going out and spending $600 for a very new and experimental device. We know what we are getting for the most part when we buy a new console. We even have brand recognition to fall back on. Nearly everything in the VR game is new and with a price that high it may very well be the next niche techno phase but nothing that will be bought by the average consumer – yet.
The announcement of the price puts the future of VR in a very interesting position. If another product can come along, say PlayStation VR, and offer a similar if not better experience for a cheaper price, VR may be able to make it into the average consumer’s home. However, if they cannot drop the price any lower VR may be doomed from the start. Like most consoles when they are launched, sales are all going to depend on the games we have available to play day one. So far the lineup for both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR looks very interesting, but none of the games look like they can sell a system. More games are to be announced leading up to the release of these devices and some AAA developers have stated they have VR games in the works.
This is all very promising, but the fact still remains that most people have yet to be sold on VR and unless there is a big PR and advertising push before its release in March, the Oculus will not likely sell out stores anytime soon. PlayStation VR is set to release this year as well and a lot of new games were announced last year. Sony has just recently reported that they have sold over 35.9 million PS4 units. With this many systems already in the homes of consumers, selling the PlayStation VR cheap and marketing it as an accessory would put it ahead of the competition right away.
Most people can agree that VR is something they would like to try, and as a life long gamer I would love to see this technology take off. However, anyone developing this technology should be paying very close attention to how the Oculus Rift does over the next couple of months. This will suerly be the indicator the future of what is to come for VR.
Do you plan on buying a VR headset or is it not for you? Let us know in the comments what you think!