Oculus Rift to ship in May for $600

Oculus VR is now taking pre-orders for the Oculus Rift headset, but at $600 it’s about twice as expensive as many expected. The purchase page says the headset will start shipping in May to 20 different countries.

By comparison, the developer kit cost about $350.

The company says that the headset will also be available “in limited locations at select retailers” starting in April.

(Image courtesy Oculus Rift.)

(Image courtesy Oculus Rift.)

However, the price includes an Xbox One controller, a small remote, an external sensors and two games — the much-anticipated space shooter EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale.

The remote allows users to browse the Oculus store, explore 360-degree videos and navigate virtual reality experiences.

The Oculus Rift purchase screen.

The Oculus Rift purchase screen.

The company also released its recommended specifications for a computer ready to run Oculus Rift experiences. They include:

  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

Oculus offers a selection of Oculus-ready PCs on its site, which are in the neighborhood of $1,000 each. So total price for your virtual reality setup if you need to buy a new computer will be around $1,600.

To find out whether your current computer can handle the Oculus Rift, you can download and run the Rift compatibility tool. My computer, sad to say, can not handle the Rift.

Kickstarter backers get free set

All those who backed the Oculus Rift on Kickstarter in 2012 and received a developer’s kit will received a free Kickstarter edition of the Oculus Rift, the company said yesterday.

“To claim your free Rift, fill out the survey you’ll receive from Kickstarter before February 1, 2016,” said yesterday’s announcement.

Backers will also get the two free games.

EVE Valkyrie

EVE: Valkyrie. (Image courtesy Oculus VR.)

Oculus VR set off the current virtual reality boom in 2012, with its successful Kickstarter campaign, raising nearly $2.5 million. In 2014, Facebook bought the company for $2 billion.

 

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Da Hayward

    never Mind Maria my PC wont handle it either lol

  • My processor failed the test 🙁 lol. If my PC cant pass the test, I doubt many other OS users will.

    I posted in the Kitely Forums that this really puts back mass adoption on any level by a few YEARS. No way people are going to shell out for new PCs and expensive headsets for anything less than totally immersive VR. And we aint there yet by a long shot.

    Wired did a good article where they say the price is not the concern, but the quality of the experience it can deliver.

    “VR is not a problem of making it “work.” VR is a problem of making it perfect, because anything less than perfect equals “OK, cool, now get this thing off my head.”

    I really agree with that sentiment. I wonder what this means for HiFi – Sansar etc.

    • Da Hayward

      Great responce Ozwell, as far as Sansar goes i personally think it will all end in tears, but hope fully I am wrong about this

    • I totally disagree with this. VR doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful.

      And I’m not just talking about real life applications like this one:

      Google Cardboard saves baby’s life
      http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/07/health/google-cardboard-baby-saved/index.html?sr=fbCNN010716lth/google-cardboard-baby-saved/index.html%230512PMVODtopLink&linkId=20172129

      I’m spending a lot of time lately playing videos and games on the Gear VR and on Google Cardboard sets and these experiences are FUN and ENGAGING.

      Dismissing this is like dismissing games like Angry Birds as “casual games.” They might be casual, but they’re still fun, and they can still become huge business.

      Even the question of which games are better is a relative one.

      Yes, some folks like to play high-end games on dedicated gaming PCs with huge screens and fast broadband and excellent audio systems.

      But given the price point of the high-end systems — and the fact that it’s a pain in the butt to boot them up and load the game — I personally will take Angry Birds any time.

      That’s not true for everyone, of course. But it’s true for a lot of people. So don’t dismiss mobile VR as “not good enough” if it’s just not good enough for YOU, in particular.

      • I dont recall dismissing anything. Or even mentioning mobile VR at all. 🙂 Think your crossing wires there.

        My main point is referring specifically to the Oculus. People are not going to shell out $1500+ for a novelty. Period. It will have to be utterly mind-blowing in some regard. I was curious at $399. Now, not at all.

        Yes, VR in general does not have to be perfect at all times. But the high end experience has to be pretty damn amazing. And dont conflate “perfect” with “awesome graphics”. Thats not the point.

        • lmpierce

          Ozwell, I am inclined to agree with you. When I saw the price for the retail Oculus I was taken aback. Not that I think the price is a mistake. The worst thing companies can do is underprice their products, unless they are so profoundly capitalized that they can endure years of losses (Amazon for example). Rather, this will open the field to many companies trying to achieve a ‘near Oculus’ experience for half the price. When those products hit the market and live up to ‘useful’ or ‘good enough’ experiences, then the market will probably grow in quality as well. Until then, Oculus and the high-end PC requirements (and no Mac support at all?) will keep that particular level of the technology uninteresting to the legions of people forming the bulk of the marketplace who expect, rightly or not, for all tech to fit their typically small budgets.

          Maria, I think what Ozwell was saying is that VR would have to be extraordinarily exceptional before lots of people would spend as much money on it as the Rift/PC combo currently costs. In the meantime, VR for the masses is currently a hodgepodge of various technologies and implementations with widely varying quality and end-user satisfaction. So, VR is ‘here’ and sometimes useful, as you point out. However, jumping to a more standardized superlative experience is not here yet and it seems unlikely the Oculus will be the product that makes that happen because A) it is expensive relative to most of the target audience’s disposable income and B) it isn’t better enough yet to drive the masses to give up a year’s worth of savings on it.

          I do think we might see adoption of the Oculus Rift / PC combo by universities or other institutions that already use VR for teaching. In fact, compared to a lot of VR at that end of the market, the Oculus is a bargain. That would be considered a niche market however, and I assume that given the Kickstarter origins of the Oculus and the acquisition by Facebook, the masses are still thought of as the sought-after target audience.

          • Thank you for articulating what I could not 🙂

            Oculus was supposed to be “it”. The next big thing. The first big step towards Mass VR and people using this tech daily or at least very regularly. At this price tag its not going to happen that way. It will be the preserve of hardcore gamers and hobbyists.

            Thats not to say that VR wont have impact in other areas of course. But it will remain a “gimmick”, albeit a very impressive and powerful one.

          • There are now 1.5 billion mobile gamers around the world — twice as many as PC gamers — accounting for $25 billion in revenues, or 30 percent of the global gaming market’s total revenue.

            http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/259289/Mobile_game_market_soars_to_25_billion_with_15_billion_players.php

            http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/259576/56_of_global_mobile_game_revenue_is_being_generated_in_Asia.php

            http://www.pcgamer.com/there-are-711-million-pc-gamers-in-the-world-today-says-intel/

            Mobile games are lousy compared to PC games in much the same way that mobile VR compares to tethered VR — worse graphics, less complex gameplay, less immersion, fewer multiplayer games, etc… etc…

            But they are FUN ENOUGH. I spent hours this week playing two mobile games — EVE: Gunjack and End Space VR and I had a lot of fun, did not get sick, and both games were definitely worth the prices I paid for the games and the respective headsets.

            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2016/01/space-shooter-vs-space-shooter/

            And yes, I’ve tried the Rifts and the HTC Vive and the Vive did blow me away — but not enough to spend $1500 or more on it if I wasn’t paid to (and could deduct as a business expense).

          • Da Hayward

            “But they are FUN ENOUGH. I spent hours this week playing two mobile games — EVE: Gunjack and End Space VR and I had a lot of fun, did not get sick, and both games were definitely worth the prices I paid for the games and the respective headsets”. Really at the end of the day this is it isnt it, most of us are in this to enjoy and have fun. I can not argue with Marias statement.

        • Sorry, when you said “I really agree with that sentiment” I thought you were referring to the previous paragraph, where you quoted Wired equating “anything less than perfect” with “get this thing off my head.”