Today is the long-awaited day where pre-orders for Oculus Rift first became available. Gamers have prepared their PCs, discussed the significance of virtual reality to great length, and started saving up cash. Hopefully they've saved up enough, because boy is it expensive.
Oculus Rift is now available for pre-order at the staggering price of $599. That's five hundred and ninety nine U.S. dollars. This is nearly twice as much as the development kits which have been available as far back as 2012, and far higher than many consumers have anticipated.
The large increase in cost comes from a few revelations discovered during development. For one, virtual reality doesn't "feel right" without a high quality screen and components that can produce a large resolution and 90+ frame rate. Cheaper parts have been utilized in previous iterations of Oculus Rift with unsatisfactory results. So, here we are with an extraordinarily expensive piece of equipment.
It is anticipated that HTC Vive with match or even exceed the price of Oculus Rift given its more pricey peripherals and high cost to manufacture tracking system that will be used to trace movement of individuals as they are immersed in virtual worlds. Meanwhile, PlayStation VR will be a more watered down version of these two technology leaders, which has the disadvantage of requiring an in-line unit that will increase cost. It wouldn't be far-fetched to anticipate a $499 launch price for Sony's headset. In other words, VR headsets are simply going to be expensive and out of reach of most consumers.
You can pre-order the Oculus Rift here.
Is virtual reality doomed? Soon we'll find out, as Oculus Rift will launch in March 2016.