Oculus VR has made of point of making the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) affordable. Although the company is yet to put an official price on the upcoming consumer version of the kit it has in the past said that it is aiming to place it in the range of $200 USD – $400. But an Oculus Rift all on its own won’t run VR experiences; it also needs a solid PC to run truly immersive videogames. The price of such hardware is something the company has admitted that it’s ‘worried’ about.
Oculus VR’s VP of Product Nate Mitchell said as much in a recent interview with Metro. “I think the truth is though, with the Rift at least, even though you’re spending $350 on the devkit you do need a high-end computer to be able to power it, right?” Mitchell reasoned. “Because of the displays and everything else. And that really becomes the gating factor. Because if everyone can afford the $350 headset but then you need a $2,000, or a $1,000, computer that’s a huge cost. So that is one of the biggest challenges we have, moving into the consumer market. And something we’re worried about.”
Mitchell went on to talk about the complexities of the future in which display resolutions will increase and hardware would remain expensive. He did however reason that, within ’10, 20, 15 years from now, it’ll get better.’ Of course this high-end hardware isn’t necessary to use the Oculus Rift itself, but to keep videogames running at the recommended 75 frames per second (FPS) running in a 4K resolution will certainly require efficient computing power.
It will be interesting to see how Oculus VR tackles this challenge as it looks towards mainstream adoption of VR. The enthusiast market will surely be happy to pay up for the necessary hardware, but what will it take to get families to buy a PC capable of running VR experiences? VRFocus will continue to follow Oculus VR in the future, reporting back with any further updates as it heads towards a consumer release.