The Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is finally now available to pre-order almost four years after its Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign drew to a close. The company has had plenty of great news to share in the past few weeks in the build up to launch like yesterday’s news that Kickstarter backers the pledged enough to get the first development kit (DK1) getting a consumer version for free. Despite this, the reaction to the reveal of the $599 USD price tag has unavoidably proved controversial, especially with varying prices internationally. But, according to the kit’s creator, the Oculus Rift is ‘obscenely cheap for what it is’.
Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey noted as much shortly after the launch of pre-orders today. “To reiterate, we are not making money on Rift hardware. High end VR is expensive, but Rift is obscenely cheap for what it is,” he said.
Earlier, Luckey explained that the company wasn’t ‘artificially bloating’ the Oculus Rift’s price. “International Rift prices are not artificially bloated – we have to cover the required taxes, sales tax in USA works differently,” he explained over on Twitter, later adding: “All the international prices are essentially the converted US price + required taxes, customs fees, etc.
“In fact, some countries are getting a slightly better deal than the US, all things considered – remember, we have per state sales tax,” Luckey concluded. When replying to a disgruntled fan on the issue, he joked: “What is more likely: Every company in the world hates you, or Europe has really high taxes?”
For comparison’s sake, the Oculus Rift costs £499 GBP in the UK, though the $599 US price tag works out to around £410. In Europe is costs €699 EUR, though the US price works out at around €557. In Oculus VR’s own words, then, this is down to the tax restrictions place on international shipping etc. The Oculus Rift is available in 20 countries from launch, with more to be added soon.
Stay tuned to VRFocus for the latest updates on the Oculus Rift.