Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, since then they have been formulating a plan to get VR into the average user. As part of its VR developer conference on Wednesday, the latest push is to drop prices. Standard Oculus Rift headsets will drop $100 to $399. In addition, they also announced the Oculus Go, a standalone mobile VR headset for $199.
With the lower cost point for the Oculus, Facebook is hoping to grab the entry level VR market. While no sales numbers were provided for the Oculus, sales during its first year were reportedly slow, and lagged behind the HTC Vive. Oculus has previously dropped the price twice before, and with that interest in it began to grow.
During the conference the biggest news was the price drop to $399 for the bundle which includes touch controllers, sensors and six free apps. Somewhat surprisingly there was not any major hardware upgrade or software update. Essentially this is the same headset for half the price as when it first launched.
The price drop makes the Oculus the most affordable PC VR option. This is an important price point as it slides just under the recently announced headsets Microsoft has partnered with. The question is if the price drop is enough to bring casual consumers to the market.
VR devices have had two obstacles in breaking into the mainstream market, the price and the complexity. Pricing of VR systems have been holding steady as $300 or more, with the exception of Gear VR headset for Galaxy smartphones. Meanwhile PC VR requires multiple sensors and a PC capable of handling VR, which further boosts the entry cost of getting into VR.
Oculus Go solves both of these problems. The Go will launch next year for $199. While the internal specs were not specified, there has to be a fairly powerful mobile processor, a lot of RAM and battery life to be fully mobile.
The biggest bonus is that the Go is as self contained VR solution. A single box to unwrap VR without having to worry about any extra equipment. This could be vital in reaching the wider market, especially if they sell it as similar to a smartphone; a single device to jump on the latest tech trend.
What do you think? Has Facebook cracked the code in getting VR to masses with the price point and the addition of the Oculus Go to the lineup? Are these enough to finally get you to dip your toe into the VR pool?