Although Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has been primarily targeted at software designers and Oculus VR has always been very open about this, its sales numbers are so high that its popularity among non-developers is evident. According to the developer of the VR gear, so far it has managed to sell whopping 85 thousand of the Rift developer kits.
Oculus VR, a subsidiary of Facebook, revealed to TechCrunch on Monday that it has sold 60 thousand of Oculus Rift DK1 [development kit 1] to date as well as 25 thousand of Oculus Rift DK2 since it started to take pre-orders on the 15th of March, 2014. Such high sales clearly point to the fact that not only game developers, but also gamers acquire the device to try out virtual reality.
“We never expected to sell so many development kits,” wrote an Oculus Rift community manager last month after a component shortage forced the company to halt sales of the Oculus Rift DK1.
Each Oculus Rift DK1 cost $300 (€217, £180), whereas the second-gen development kit costs $350 (€253, £209). The first-gen VR headset supported 640*800 resolution per eye, whereas the second-gen development kit features 960*1080 resolution per eye at 75Hz refresh rate. Both DKs are equipped with gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer. The VR helmet is only supported by a handful of video games at present.
85 thousands is a respectable number and clearly shows the popularity of virtual reality technology not only among software developers, but also among enthusiast gamers, who are eager to buy hardware not designed for the consumer.
Still, the amount of DevKits sold not does not necessarily mean that commercial Oculus Rift VR headsets will be successful too. General public will only get the final version of the Oculus Rift when and if it is supported by loads of AAA video games that provide dramatically different gameplay when played in VR mode.
KitGuru Says: It is pretty clear that the popularity of Oculus Rift among video game enthusiasts is pretty high. Will that catalyse game designers to actually create titles for VR gear? The virtual reality games should be made differently than today’s titles and it is highly likely that their development costs will be higher. As a result, to return the amplified costs, publishers will have to either hike prices of VR games, or make sure that they can sell them to a lot more people than they sell to today. But how can they do that if only a limited group of consumers actually own VR headsets?