Oculus Rift creator and CEO of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, has spoken out this morning about some concerns with the upcoming virtual reality (VR) revolution. Warning of the cost of adoption, suggesting that selling the hardware ‘at cost’ is one of the ‘extreme’ measures Oculus VR will adopt to help ‘ensure maximum market growth’.
Luckey took to Twitter and openly addressed his concerns in a short series of tweets. He begun by stating that, “VR will become something everyone wants before it becomes something everyone can afford,” before suggesting that it will take some time until VR reaches the market penetration that many are predicting: “Future advancements and high volume will make VR available to everyone eventually, but 1st gen will be mostly early adopters.”
Luckey then moved on to discuss the efforts Oculus VR are going to in order to ensure that they support the consumer audience however they can, “Extreme means like selling at-cost to ensure maximum market growth are not enough to align cost and desired price,” as well as openly stating the reason why the cost of the initial head-mounted display (HMD) release may be higher than many expect: “Multiple custom VR panels, high end optics, and an endless list of specialized hardware and manufacturing techniques add up.
“The cost of development hardware that was sold at a loss using many off-the-shelf components is not a good comparison.”
Luckey also made a bold statement regarding the upcoming launch of the consumer Oculus Rift and its many competitors. Clearly believing that a quality product will win out against aggressive pricing, Luckey suggested that being best is better than being first:
“It is no coincidence that Oculus will lead this reality check the same way we led this VR revolution – 1st to market is hard.”
He concluded the discussion by offering a warning about price and the specification of the hardware upon which consumers will be able to utilise the Oculus Rift HMD, stating: “There are a lot of people who expect to spend a couple hundred bucks and use their existing low end laptops.
“We are taking some big steps to make sure people know what they are getting into – we don’t want to sell to people who don’t.”
The Oculus Rift HMD is currently expected to launch in Q1 2016, a fact which Luckey himself reiterated, again via Twitter, earlier this week. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, for which pre-orders are expected to begin early in 2016.