The sticker shock that spread across the Internet on Wednesday when Oculus finally revealed the $600 price tag of its flagship virtual reality product was silly. The asking price isn’t Oculus Rift contest actually $600. You may have to tack on at least another $350 when you consider the cost of the single, basic upgrade to your PC that you might have to accept in order to run the Rift.
Here’s a quick look at the interface you’ll see inside the oculus rift: there’s a store, of course, a friends list which shows you recent activities, and some status indicators up in the upper-left corner. Weirdly, these particular indicators include wifi and battery life… despite the fact that the headset isn’t wireless. Infer from that what you will,” teased Palmer when we asked him. Oculus’ Nate Mitchell says they could just indicate what you see if you plugged into a laptop—so you can tell if your notebook’s battery is dying, for instance, without ripping off the headset.
So Luckey dropped out of college and the gamble paid off, but Luckey’s personality — quirky but genuine, laid-back but you can still tell his mind is thinking a mile a minute — is a refreshing break from that of the usual Silicon Valley tech startup founder. This is the guy who originally planned to simply sell the plans for building the Oculus Rift to virtual reality enthusiasts so they could build it themselves, the cheapest way at the time to get the technology into people’s hands.
The price did cause some controversy. The headset will cost $600, and that’s not including the powerful gaming computer required to run the thing. Luckey and Oculus execs had said in years past they were targeting somewhere in the $200 to $400 range, but even after Luckey began hinting that the final price tag could be even higher, there were many that took to Twitter and virtual reality forums to voice their displeasure.
In most games, aside from flight simulators (where a joystick would feel more natural) or driving simulators (which feel best with a steering wheel), the Touch controllers definitely up the immersion levels. At this point, they feel like a solid first attempt at solving the issue of hand input in VR, but they’re not a requirement for every experience.
When talking about the decision to ship the Touch controllers separately and in the latter half of 2016, the best parallel to make is when Microsoft announced it was bundling its body-tracking Kinect sensor with every Xbox One, without the option to purchase just the game console. The decision caused a huge controversy, and after Sony announced the PlayStation 4 would be launching for $100 less than the Xbox One, Microsoft eventually ended up reversing its decision.