Valve’s Yates: Oculus Rift Displays Take Up ‘1/6’ of Cost at an ‘educated guess’

The Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is priced a fair bit higher than many enthusiasts were expecting, launching pre-orders yesterday for some $599 USD. This has led many fans to start speculating as to which components are driving the price of the kit up, though Oculus VR itself understandably won’t comment on these individual parts. That said, a member of Valve, the company behind the SteamVR system that powers upcoming Oculus Rift rival the HTC Vive, is estimating that the kits OLED displays take up around ‘1/6’ of that cost.


Chief Pharologist Alan Yates suggested as much responding to Upload VR’s Ian Hamilton over on Twitter this week. When Hamilton speculated on the cost of the two display panels that are housed inside the Oculus Rift, Yates simply replied: “about 1/6,” which would mean around $100. He later elaborated: “that is only my guess, but an educated one based on when we specified the original panels to Samsung for Oculus.” This would have been a long time ago, likely before Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook back in April 2014.

The displays are a vital part of any VR HMD, as they need to be a high resolution in order to reduce the screen door effect, in which players can see the pixels through the HMD’s lenses, distorting the overall image somewhat. They also need a high refresh rate to accommodate high framerates in VR so that players don’t pick up on any flicker and any actions look fluid and natural. It’s just one component that will have helped build up that cost, but it’s a vital one that Oculus VR wouldn’t have accepted any comprise on.

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