Facebook's VR company is ready to take on PlayStation in the VR battle
Shots fired in the virtual reality war, Facebook-owned Oculus just dropped the price of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and Touch controller bundle by $200.
"We've given hundreds and thousands of demos. Not all of them end in a purchase. Price. It's always price," says Jason Rubin, head of worldwide studios at Oculus. "Therefore we're going to go aggressively at price and drop the Rift and Touch bundle from $799 currently to $599."
$599 is still a chunk of change, especially when you consider that you need a decent PC to use it, but the price drop does put the devices into direct competition with Sony's PlayStation VR, the cheapest of the big three VR setups.
"We think this is a very big deal because this takes us within $100 of the all-up price of PSVR if you add the camera and the Move controllers and everything else, continues Rubin. "But the quality is radically different."
The PSVR headset on its own is $399. Your other VR option, the PC-based HTC Vive, is still $799. As far as sales go we know the PSVR has sold more than 915,000 units so far. Oculus hasn't released sales numbers for Rift and HTC is coy on a specific figure too, but last month Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney told Glixel "HTC Vive is outselling Oculus 2-to-1 worldwide."
The truth is virtual reality is still a hard sell to the masses. Big blockbuster game studios are still only experimenting with the medium and there hasn't been a Grand Theft Auto or Assassin's Creed of VR just yet.
"Eventually I'm sure we'll have that system killer app," says Rubin. "Right now we haven't had that yet. We've had a lot of stuff that's done really well and I think people are dabbling but over time the software will get bigger and deeper. Better prices, better content drives consumers. Consumers buy more content. That makes better development."