The VR price war is heating up again as Oculus cuts their price of their Rift headset and Touch controller bundle once more to £400 ($400 in the US) as of today, as Facebook tries to boost flagging sales and pitch VR as the future of media.
The announcement comes amid a troubled period for the Facebook owned company, amid the departure of their founder Palmer Luckey, a $500m payout to ZeniMax after a protracted lawsuit and being a distinct third place in the tethered VR platform war, with Playstation VR and HTC Vive strongly outselling the Rift.
This is pretty positive news for VR, and puts the price point of the Rift tantalisingly close to PSVR’s £350 headset. It may in fact possibly be cheaper given that the excellent Touch motion controllers are included in the price, whilst the Playstation Move controllers are a £70 extra. That said, unless you already have a fairly powerful computer, you will be adding at least £600 to the cost of entry.
The package is the full Rift + Touch bundle, so for your £400 you get a fair amount of stuff. Other than the headset itself and the Touch controllers, you get two constellation sensors, an Xbox One controller and seven games. Along with the usual fodder like Lucky’s Tale, you do get the fantastic Robo Recall.
There is one possible issue with the doing the price cut now is that it’s the middle of summer, a time when the weather is so hot that the last thing some people may want to do is strap a headset to your face and escape to another world. On the other hand, given the typical British summer, it might be nice to have a guarantee that you can see some sunny weather.
That said though, in terms of getting more buyers, it will almost certainly provide a temporary boost. £400 is not only two thirds of the starting price for the Rift but is nearly half the cost of Oculus’ main rival, HTC’s Steam backed Vive.
Oculus’ woes nor VR’s general problem with price won’t be solved overnight, however this may be enough to get people who are on the fence to take the plunge into VR.