There’s been plenty of chatter about Oculus Rift and the promise of truly immersive gameplay. But for all the praise we see in the media, few have actually tried one of the development units, while most people make do with the reactions of amazement from those using it in YouTube videos. There’s nothing set in stone yet for a commercial release, though for the first time, the company has mentioned a target price: $300.
Depending on how you see it, that makes it either a rather expensive peripheral, or reasonably priced for a device that hopes to influence how we play games in a more meaningful way than next-gen consoles.
Oculus CEO Brandon Iribe obviously leans towards the latter. In an interview with Edge Online he talks about getting the device to market and acknowledges that “the lower the price point, the wider the audience.” Initially it’ll be hard getting it lower than that, but Iribe hints at the possibility of subsidies through partnerships later on.
“You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidize consoles because there's enough money to be made on software and other areas, then there's the potential that this, in partnership, could get subsidized.” Although he didn’t delve into specifics, and it doesn’t sound like there’s anything specific being planned, Iribe says they could earn recurring revenue from a VR game and ask a lower upfront price for the headset.
The executive imagines being able to give out the Oculus Rift for free at some point so it’s used by as many people as possible. “We're not there yet, but we're sitting there thinking all the time, how can we make this free?” Hopefully they’ll be able to crack that one eventually, but for now we’ll just keep our fingers crossed for enough developer support to make it a worthwhile investment, and a release date in the not-too-distant future.