Yesterday’s launch of Oculus Rift Pre-Orders was rather manic, with thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of people trying to buy the headset, despite it coming in at around double the expected cost. To answer some people’s concerns and others’ hopes for the future, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit shortly after the pre-orders went live to answer some questions.
The first and foremost question Luckey answered as part of the AMA was related to the price of the consumer Rift. Initially expected to come in at around the $350 mark that the DK2 cost, and eventually rumoured to be a little more, the eventual $600 US and £500 UK price (plus shipping) was a little hard for some to stomach.
However Palmer explained that when he said the CV1 would be in the ballpark of $350, he was comparing it to the overall expected $1,500 of buying the Rift and a high-end PC to run it. He also pointed out that most high-end electronics were around the $600 mark, including consoles (at launch) and high-end smartphones and TVs, both of which are much cheaper to manufacture than the Rift.
Although he didn’t specify, the rumour is that the CV1 would cost over $1,000 if some of the hardware wasn’t being sold at or below cost. Many of the extras too are said to cost Oculus almost nothing to bundle with the headset, including the Xbox One controller and games. Providing a pack without them would not have had much impact on the price we’re told.
Instead, we turned it into the best VR headset possible, with a strong library of games through both Oculus Studios and 3rd parties.
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 7, 2016
Moving forward, Luckey pledged to not make any more ballpark guesses for the price of hardware or content, but said that pricing for media would be similar to traditional platforms like Steam and the various console digital stores. There would also be varied pricing models, with some being free and others being more akin to AAA pricing.
Looking at gaming in particular, Luckey revealed that there would be over 100 commercial VR titles released before the end of the year, over 20 of which will be Oculus first parties. He also said that he wants to see all games and experiences made available everywhere in the world, but that may occasionally not be possible because of “local policy or technical limitations.”
All Oculus games and experiences should have the same account linked with them, which should make multiplayer hook ups with friends and family easier.
As far as the specifications required to run VR go, Luckey said that the recommended ones, released early in 2015, would guarantee a 90 FPS experience in all titles, but not necessarily the highest visual quality. While all developers will have to make their experiences playable at recommended specs, it will be down to individuals if they want to make them support higher-end hardware too.
Luckey himself though will be running a recommended spec rig so he has the experience that the majority of early adopters will.
He also announced that the cable from your PC to the Rift will be four metres long.
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KitGuru Says: There’s a fair bit of other, more detailed information in the AMA if you want more, but I think we hit the major points here. Kudos to Palmer for admitting some fault in the pre-pre-order pricing details, but he was in a tough spot. The Rift is going to be higher quality at launch than we perhaps yet appreciate and as much as it would be nice if it was cheaper, it’s better to get this first-gen right than have a lacklustre product.