"Crappy PCs" are the biggest barrier to VR adoption, claims Oculus founder

By Scorpus ยท 35 replies
Jan 13, 2016
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  1. Some people got a bit of a shock last week when Oculus announced that the Rift headset would cost $599 at launch. Considering the powerful hardware that you'll need to run games at an acceptable frame rate and resolution for virtual reality, the entire cost for a VR-capable rig with an Oculus headset is easily north of $1,500.

    Oculus founder Palmer Luckey doesn't believe that the price of the Rift itself is the most significant barrier to high-end VR gaming. Instead, in a Reddit AMA Luckey stated that "your crappy PC is the biggest barrier to adoption", and that will only change as more and more consumers start purchasing high-performance hardware.

    Luckey hopes that in the future, a "normal" PC will be good enough to run VR games, which would then enable "the majority of people will be able to buy a relatively cheap headset and just use whatever computer they already own to drive it." The best way to achieve this is to increase demand for high-end hardware, which will cause prices to drop and the rate of innovation to increase.

    In the meantime, Oculus is working with hardware partners such as AMD and Nvidia to get the most out of current hardware in a virtual reality setting. Both GPU companies have already established VR initiatives – AMD with LiquidVR, and Nvidia with Gameworks VR – that will help achieve the best VR experience so long as you have powerful enough components.

    Luckey repeated that Oculus is not making any money from sales of the Rift headset, with the company instead focusing on their software distribution model and exclusive content to generate profit. He also stated that the Rift is priced at $599 because that "is the current cost of making a really good headset", although he is sure the price will decrease over time.

    The Reddit AMA where Luckey answers all sorts of questions relating to Oculus and virtual reality is well worth a read if you're interested in how the ecosystem will work.

    Permalink to story.

  2. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 378   +244

    " the company instead focusing on their software distribution model and exclusive content to generate profit"

    I have high end PC but don't want more stores. There's too many already and oculus store probably requires facebook account that I will never make. Also the fear of facebook ads in vr doesn't help.

    I have spend over 1000$ on steam, rather buy their equipment and be sure my games work on it.
    trgz likes this.
  3. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,340   +1,438

    People with crappy PC's can't afford a rift anyway so these people are not part of their market. This essentially comes down to "Too many people are too poor to use our product".
    Shanasmiles, ichibi87, trgz and 6 others like this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    If they ever want VR to become universally adopted it'll have to work on a model like phones, cars etc. wherein you have entry level, mid range and high end tiers.
    1500 balloons is far out of reach for a lot of people, and then they're still expected to toss away their current weak kneed machines and invest in something more high end?.. Ain't gonna happen.
    VR is still in it's infancy and it'll still be many years before it's considered universal and a lot of things can happen in that time.
    trgz and Mandark like this.
  5. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 338   +203

    The side effect of VR will be a boon to the PC hardware industry. I bet graphics card manufacturers are chomping at the bit to sell everyone VR capable cards. A lot of people who are currently "getting by" with old cards are going to be forced to upgrade if they want to play in VR. I'm convinced that VR will be a wonderful thing for the PC gaming and hardware industry. I still don't see how the current consoles will be able to run VR though. They just don't have the power.
    trgz likes this.
  6. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    So what? It's new, demanding tech.
    Gaming with the latest and greatest has never been cheap and thats not going to change anytime soon.
  7. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 864   +880

    Perhaps this guy could stop being a prick about it? Stating that "the general PCs in use are not powerful enough to run VR yet" is far more acceptable than "your crappy pc is the barrier to adoption". This guy is rich, and cannot seem to understand not everyone with a gaming pc is rich enough to afford three titan x's.
  8. fredderf81

    fredderf81 TS Enthusiast Posts: 51   +40

    This has been a major issue of mine for YEARS. I started out 21 years ago building / repairing / selling PC systems. I have worked for several different companies...selling PC retail through high school and college for 3 different chains, doing freelance work and then finally settling in to a company where I thankfully do not have to deal with customers and the general public.

    Most people buy a new mobile phone every 2 years...or every year for many apple users who for some reason waste their money on a device that is almost the same as the one they are already using *sigh*. Many people buy / lease a new car between 2 and 5 years. people buy new appliances frequently, a new lawn mower ever few years, a new tv every few years, etc. but for SOME odd reason, the computers most families have are ANCIENT. I do not know why most people think that when they buy a computer, the thing will be great for the next 15 years. the technology in these things changes...rapidly. when you buy a new PC it will be obsolete in less than a year...if you bought a "black friday deal" laptop / desktop it was obsolete when you bought it. (black friday 'deals' are composed of everything the retail chain could not sell over the past year and are now selling it cheap to take ... LESS of a loss than total) I have no idea why most people blame their old PC for not being able to run things when it is THEIR own fault for not replacing it with something up-to-date.

    flame on!! =)
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    "Luckey stated that "your crappy PC is the biggest barrier to adoption" "

    Well, actually the problem is the even crappier consoles you weren't able to get to run your hardware because Sony and Microsoft wouldn't allow it, so you turned to the PC market where things are more open. Then realize it'll only run with expensive hardware so blame the industry for your own short comings, and finally make it cost three times as much as any average user is willing to spend and voila you have a product no body is going to buy.

    "...with the company instead focusing on their software distribution model and exclusive content to generate profit. He also stated that the Rift is priced at $599 because that "is the current cost of making a really good headset" "

    Generally when this approach is taken the hardware is sold at a loss because your going to make it back with you software distribution, look at Sony's Playstation history... But no, it's more fun to charge charge charge, because Facebook needs more bloody money right?

    I don't have a "Crappy PC", but I sure as hell don't want this "Crappy" VR headset made by Facebook, the biggest piece of crap on the web.
    trgz likes this.
  10. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    Was gunna say the same. Also I think the min spec is higher than what you need in reality. I used the DK2 on a 670GTX on a Core2 Quad with no issues.
    trgz likes this.
  11. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    Yet preorders sold out in hours ... just because one person is poor and cant afford it and says its expensive doesn't mean everyone can't either.

    Also it's hardly expensive really for what you are getting if you break it down into the component parts, it litterally is spot on with the price

    If you break it down you have

    110$ - screen (based on the DK2 note3 screen, which im sure they aren't using now but still maybe made by Samsung)
    80$ - xbox one joypad
    200$ - headset materials and construction (this is based on what the DK2 cost)
    100$ IR camera
    45$ - remote
    60$ games

    As you can see spot on with pricing yet people wanted it even cheaper around the 200$ but it can't be made for that price! I do hope though in the future to hopefully see an unbundled package without the games, remote or joypad which knocks a couple of a hundred off the price and then just use an old 360 pad. Then take into account price decrease by christmas you could very well see unbundled packages around the $299 mark by then
  12. feathers632

    feathers632 TS Member Posts: 59   +14

    Stop talking nonsense matey. This facebook paranoid b*llshit is well-worn and past it's use-by date.
    Lionvibez likes this.
  13. feathers632

    feathers632 TS Member Posts: 59   +14

    CV1 and Vive are more demanding than DK2. I have a GTX 680 overclocked by 145mhz on core and 155mhz on vram and have to set Elite Horizons to "low" preset to maintain FPS.
  14. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,362   +2,006

    Sounds like another case of blame the computer because of the crappy peripheral!
    trgz and wiyosaya like this.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    Agreed! I am almost surprised that he did not say, "You're holding your PC wrong!"
    trgz likes this.
  16. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    I wasn't debating the cost for them to manufacturer the device, I'm sure it cost more than $200 to produce, I was arguing they are subsidizing the cost with software sales but not reducing the price of the hardware, and then they force you to get it bundled with crap you might not need. The controller being the best example, sure it cost $80 retail but what if you do not want to use VR with a controller, for example you already have a steering wheel and intend on only using it with racing games, makes the controller pointless. Just by knocking off the controller and the games bundle you could save almost $150, bringing it on par with a standalone console, still expensive but not the price of a high end GPU, which of course you'll still need to use VR to it's full potential. I'm hoping by Christmas this year the price will decrease and the headset will be available standalone, but it's still really new technology and there's still yet to be any competition, the ladder will be what drives the price down.
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,946   +765

    Given that many people only browse the web and use their computers for e-mail, I personally do not blame people for not wanting to spend money they might not have. I would speculate that the average PC user is not as technical as we are.

    I have a PC at home that is close to 15-years old now, and is perfectly fine for e-mail, web browsing, and some tasks that are taxing. Would I try to run an Oculus on it? NFW!

    I highly doubt that the market for an Oculus is comprised of those people who have 15-year old PCs; yet if someone buys an Oculus and tries to run it on a PC that is less capable than the minimum hardware requirements, I would side with you.
  18. Mandark

    Mandark TS Booster Posts: 76   +22

    Boo hoo. We can't get most folks to spring for 20,000 dollar PCs

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,258   +455

    Well I hope the Rift isn't a 'crappy VR headset' with such a low resolution and poorly manufactured lenses that I see individual pixels and lose that supposed feeling of immersion. Anyway the guy does have a point. Most casual gamers don't have the hardware needed to power a VR experience well. However most of us more hardcore gamers probably will have the hardware.
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,744   +3,710

    I'm sorry VR Dev Team! I don't have $30K to spend on a PC containing 2 CPU's and 7 GPU's. My i7 2600K and GTX 660 will have to do for now.
  21. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    Even though the parent company is facebook, they still I don't think are in a position to sell every occulus at a loss (unlike companies like Microsoft). But yes I would like to see them not selling the item with joypads etc to make the overall item cheaper. Sure the xbox one joypad is good but is it really THAT much better than the 360 joypad which you can buy for like $15.

    I had a DK2 and loved it, and I want VR and I tbh am not put off by the price. I just want to wait at the moment to see what the HTC Pre will cost and how it will perform before I make my decision. I have been an early adopter of a fair few bits of kit with one of my most costly for the PC being nvidia 3D Vision. It only came with a 23" monitor but I paid over a 1k for it all and I dont think I really ever used it lol.
  22. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    No no, that was the Linustechtips guys 7 system running on one machine build, I think you could get away with a much more affordable $2500 system for VR, or wait for the tech to mature a little before jumping in with both feet. Although I'm sure that $30k system would run VR pretty well.
  23. Shanasmiles

    Shanasmiles TS Rookie

    I think if a person would drop the cash for VR, they probably would have already updated their computer... The people with 15 year old computers just use them to play yahoo poker, keep a spreadsheet of their hot wheels collection on excel 2000, maintain their family photos that they can't figure out how to transfer to an external hd, and preserve their IE8 Porn Bookmarks.
    bigjimminy likes this.
  24. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 817   +371

    Most would argue it's the price.
  25. Stuart Halliday

    Stuart Halliday TS Rookie

    Or you have issues?

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