Oculus drops the price of its VR headset to $499

Do you know people who would love to hook themselves up with VR headsets but balk a bit at the price? Oculus is making it a little cheaper to get in with its latest price drop. The Oculus Rift headset is dropping to $499 and the Touch controllers are going down to $99, placing a bundle of both at $598 and saving you $200 over the launch price. The official statement from the company is that the lowered price is still “sustainable” for the company, implying that the hardware is not being sold at a loss at this point.

Whether or not the lowered price will lead to more sales is likely to remain an open question for some time, but that’s clearly the intent. There are no announcements about a new generation of VR hardware, so it’s clear that the company is doubling down on having cheaper hardware to bring in more users. If the $200 drop makes it just rich enough for your blood, then you’ve got some purchase planning to do.

Source: Polygon
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86 Comments on "Oculus drops the price of its VR headset to $499"

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Zoe

Oculus, not “Occulus”. (Sorry, my OCD has now been satisfied. I’ll see myself out. :)

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Geo Kavu

Heh.. “The headsets barely make us any profit” they said.
“We sell them as low as we can to attract people to VR” they said.
If this technology fails and becomes a niche again, the fingers will be pointing to one company and one company only.

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Arktouros

If I’m not mistaken in the Console market, for example, the hardware is actually sold at bit of a loss but they make up for it with the game sales and subscription sales down the line.

As Gabe Newell recently said in an interview, hardware is traditionally a very slim market for profit. The main reason Valve got into VR was because they wanted new ways to interact with games so they could make more interesting games. They’re not sure it will be a huge market, but they want to try to do something new and maybe it will work out.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

So, I guess FB wants to compete against the PSVR in the cheap price range.

Way I see it, PSVR is popular because it’s cheap(ish), Vive is popular because it’s amazing, and Oculus suffers from being the middle child in terms of quality/price.

It’s impossible for FB to compete against the Vive, the Vive blows the Oculus out of the water. So FB decides that they could instead compete against the PSVR by lowering the price and luring potential PSVR customers instead.

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Melissa McDonald

I’m seriously laughing at the naysayers below. You’ll be proven so wrong in the coming years. But I won’t rub your noses in it. I’ll welcome you with pixel arms when we meet in the VR space.

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BalsBigBrother

That is a nonsense comment I am sorry but it is. It is akin to someone turning up when you are born saying I predict that at some point you will die and all they have to do is wait long enough to be proven correct.

I personally don’t dispute that VR won’t at some point in time be a thing but I do dispute that what we are seeing today right now won’t be the “thing” I am referring to.

Who knows Star Citizen may actually be a launched / finished product too by the time VR has its day. I do know it is likely I will be in an old folks home shouting at an innocent potted plant for not bringing me my dinner on time :p

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Yoshi Senpai

When they make some games that appeal to me. Make a light weight option that doesn’t hug my face like an alien I will get one. I don’t even use gaming headsets and have a Blue Yeti for my mic for games (Sorry, people who hear my game sounds, but you gotta admit those Klipsch speakers be booming!), and PC hardware is to the point I can run it at a good res with good FPS I will get one.

Until those conditions are met it could be 50 bucks and I still wouldn’t get one.

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Iain B

“I don’t even use gaming headsets and have a Blue Yeti for my mic for games (Sorry, people who hear my game sounds, but you gotta admit those Klipsch speakers be booming!)”

Ugh, you probably don’t use push-to-talk either so your mic is constantly transmitting static, bad dubstep and/or some family member yelling at you.

And no, I am not just jaded because that’s how it’s been in The Division for the past year!

(Ok, that’s really why.)

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dotsmada34

I went all in and have both the Rift and the Vive (also have cardboard and GearVR). Haven’t played them since last summer…. My reasons:

1. Games have no depth. They are basically arcade type games or mobile games in VR.
2. Having to clear room for set up of a play session for room scale sucks.
3. The wire is annoying.
4. Resolution isn’t great. I have a powerful PC that can run 4k on a 2d screen. When seeing the grainy resolution on the headsets it’s kind of disappointing.
5. Games suck.

These are my reasons for not playing. I’ve already invested heavily in VR so I really do want to like it. To be honest though I’d rather just play a game in 4k with a lot of depth on a massive 2d screen than play a lower resolution arcade game in VR. I continue to check back every now and again for new games to see if they would be interesting. Nothing has caught my eye yet.

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Arktouros

4/5 of these reasons are also why I don’t spend vast majority of my time not on my Vive currently as well (I already have an extra Office room).

Basically waiting for Fallout 4 VR at this point.

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Wendigo Runner

Sorry Rift, but the Vive and PSVR is where it’s at.

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Mick the Barbarian

How so? What do they have that the Rift (with Touch) doesn’t?

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Arktouros

So basically it’s a difference in what they want to do with VR.

Vive, at this point, is more about expanding what VR is capable of. It’s why they launched with Room Scale rather than try to add onto it later like with the Touch. They’re now focusing on things like better tracking options (new light houses), additional tracked peripherals (the new puck) and adding wireless option onto headsets.

Occulus on the other hand is more interested in trying to expand the availability and create a VR market. They launched without Touch to keep the price down to make it more accessible. They paid for timed or outright game exclusives to encourage purchase of their device. They’ve stated they’re heavily focused on reducing the price at this stage to get more people to try it over pushing features like Wireless as those ultimately add cost not reduce it.

Now the problem here is when Player 3 entered the game: PSVR. PSVR already runs on an extremely cheap system compared to computers and then you tack on an even cheaper VR package and it’s not hard to see why PSVR was happy to announce their 915k sold units in 4 months. And it’s certainly not like Sony is new to the exclusives racket and has it’s own line up of titles (I’m a little jelly of Farpoint, looks sweet as hell).

So really at this stage it’s more if you want the deeper VR with more features, but a higher cost, you’ll end up on the Vive. If you want the budget option the PSVR’s base system price is really tough to match in a PC. Personally, and to be clear I’m a Vive owner, I don’t think any 3 of them are really worth it currently as none of them really have a title you can really sink your teeth into.

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Blaaznar

Fanboys apparently.

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Arktouros

Yes, lets pretend like there’s no Occulus fanboys either lol…

Xijit
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Xijit

you mean: sets its price back to what it was supposed to be before the Facebook acquisition.

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mcsleaz

Still about $400 more than I’m willing to pay.

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Rottenrotny

Still about $400 too much.

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HNN

TBH I felt the same way until I tried VR on PS4. The experience is really unexpected, its nothing you’ll never expect from simply putting on a headset and using the controllers. Until more people start trying first hand I guess I understand people not feeling its not worth the money.

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Yoshi Senpai

VR is so fetch!

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GoJammit

$499?! thought it was already cheaper than that, I guess that means I won’t be taking part in the VR revolution. What’s that? No revolution’s happening? Oh well.

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mcsleaz

Lmao. Funny comment, thnx :)

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Lights and Music

3D TV all over again.

please stop this

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Yoshi Senpai

I remember those from when I was like 5. His vomit cup beside him looks a little too small though…

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GoJammit

Right!

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Esoteric Coyote

Really just 500?! For a tool I’d use in maybe 2 games I own?! What a steal!

I’m good. It’s only like 800 in Canada… that’s nearly the cost of my PC.

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O Ra

I thought the VR trend ended already…

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HNN

I mentioned in an above post, tbh I felt the same way until I tried VR on PS4. The experience is really unexpected, its nothing you’ll never expect from simply putting on a headset and using the controllers. Until more people start trying first hand I guess I understand people not feeling its not worth the money.

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mcsleaz

It has. It’s just that the 10 people that own one don’t want to admit it.

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Melissa McDonald

Yes those 915,000 PlayStation VR owners don’t really exist.

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Arktouros

This is pretty par the course for Occulus vs Valve at this point.

Occulus is about trying to make the VR Market “a thing.” They tried to make a cheaper headset only package and now they’ve lowered the price again with the Touch (cause it was more expensive than the Vive with the 3 camera setup with touch). They’re trying to expand the VR market.

Valve is more interested in pushing what VR features and what VR should be about. They didn’t compromise when it came to Roomscale and said that’s the bare minimum VR should be. They’re focusing on features like Wireless VR (something Occulus recently said they weren’t prioritizing) which while they cost more ultimately answer questions like what are the minimum standards of VR?

Since it’s going to take years to develop any serious game titles I’d rather companies focus on getting the technology right and then focus on bringing costs down than bringing the costs down and delivering sub-par experiences that aren’t even worth the reduced price.

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Melissa McDonald

Competition is good. HTC and Sony are putting heat on them. Sony reported this week they’ve sold 915,000 PSVR visors. Not too shabby for a product out barely 6 months. More than 10million cardboard visors have sold. Hundreds of thousands of GearVR visors. Daydream visors selling well despite working on a very few handsets.
You can deny it all you want, but resistance is futile.

mmVR.png
Godnaz
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Godnaz

@Melissa You are the VR valiant of this website to what my Star Citizen fanboizm is here. You promote and defend a dream and chance of success that no one can predict but many doubt will have a chance. I sincerely appreciate you being that positive person who will stick up for technology that just hasn’t been done well yet or done at all. And those doubters have good reason to be that way. But you and I will keep believing and we’ll keep preaching to good word until it’s broken through or until we know it’s over.

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Melissa McDonald

Problem is, the facts support my side. We’re looking at millions of visors out already. It’s just going to keep chugging along. it’s a freight train down hill. By the way, trains start off slow. But have monstrous inertia.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Arktouros

It was 915k in 4 months which puts them on track for their 1m sold in 6 months goal they had :)

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Sleepy

Nope, not until it’s wireless.

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Arktouros

Occulus won’t be focusing on Wireless for a while:

https://www.pcgamesn.com/oculus/oculus-wireless-VR-vs-price

Can’t wait for it this year for my Vive :) I really hate that cord in games where you gotta turn around a lot.

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Melissa McDonald

yes, tethered is the single biggest design problem. weight is 2nd.

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Arktouros

That’s my only concern with the solutions like TPCast where there’s a huge battery you gotta deal with now. You fix the cord but add weight. But I’ve also been seeing other solutions coming along here as well that seem less heavy.

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FreecczLaw

I would be game if there was “anything” to use it for, but there isn’t.

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Armsbend

Just $300 more and you are almost there.

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BalsBigBrother

Still not seeing a compelling reason to get VR at this point in time. While I can see many benefits to simply waiting such as much lower prices, better developed hardware and better gaming opportunities (should it ever get enough traction to attract such development.)

Its the proverbial we need a killer app to shift more units but until they sell more units they don’t seem likely to attract more gaming development. At least not beyond what seems to be low key stuff or just afterthought addon to existing projects.

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Melissa McDonald

If the only thing you can imagine is a rich high-res MMO, yes you have a while to wait. But VR is much more than just gaming. It’s travel to foreign lands and being able to stand there almost like you’re really there, without spending thousands in airline travel and hotel and getting sick from local food or water. Check out the ORBULUS app for Cardboard, it’s got dozens if not hundreds of locations you can “visit”. JAUNT has film tours of places like Machu Picchu and it’s amazing.

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Nordavind

Not even remotely the same as travelling there, if you are out for the experience.

Does (if carefully implemented) make surveying places for planning though. E.g. one can have a 3D environment of an oil rig, then have enginerres on land walk around and plan a upgrade. Saves costs for flying out there. However, it’s absolutely vital that the 3D model is perfect to the last bolt and always updated.

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BalsBigBrother

I guess I am fortunate that I have over the course of my life managed to visit most places I wanted to see at least once. Though I still have Canada & Australia to cross off but yeah I will just go there thank you. So I make it something special with memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life rather than some shallow soon forgotten facsimile.

If that is the best it can offer then sorry VR has nothing for me. If you find something worthwhile then more power to you have at it.

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Nordavind

I’ll pick you up when I head for Eh land.

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Utakata

My pigtails will be awaiting in anticipation when you do cross here! <3

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BalsBigBrother

I wish I could just pick up and go on my travels again but yeah that prospect is more than a few years away sadly /sigh

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Armsbend

I’m sticking with cardboard until the high res compelling gameplay emerges. I just don’t know if VR can accomplish that making no money.

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Arktouros

All device manufacturers are already talking about higher resolution displays.

The issue seems to be hardware (CPU / GPU) to support it.

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Utakata

Perhaps this is why the proprietors are suing each other to make up that overhead. o.O

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Melissa McDonald

Gear VR is a big leap over cardboard due to the onboard sensors, which are much more accurate and get down-to-metal access to the Samsung device. PSVR is supposedly better than that. I’ve tried Rift and Vive but only briefly. They are higher resolution but a bit too heavy and clunky yet. I consider them 1.0 devices. But the quality of images and smoothness goes up dramatically with each leap in hardware you try.

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Armsbend

Well more important than resolution is an app I really want to play and consolidation of product. I won’t buy in with the 3,4, or 5 (I don’t bother keeping up any longer) that are available. Some companies will be abandoning VR after Christmas 2017 so I’ll take another look after the shake up.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Godnaz
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Godnaz

The fact that so little devs in the gaming industry are embracing this technology shows they have a long way to go.

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Rhime

Really? You have a link to that statement for us to confirm?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

why do you need a statement to confirm that? one needs only to look at the limited number of games that have been developed for VR to confirm that.

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Rhime

Because statements like Zander’s are usually made up of personal opinion since he can’t possibly know what’s in the pipeline or who the “devs in the gaming industry” really are.

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Modrain

Dunno. Last time I’ve checked (a few weeks ago), there were roughly 300 unique VR games/experiences in the Oculus Store/Steam combined, probably more now. It’s not a lot, but for platforms barely reaching a year old, it’s far from being bad. If you compare that to what can be created on dedicated hardware like game consoles, it’s pretty high, even when removing the low quality games.

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Melissa McDonald

Not true. Unless you’re going to keep moving the bar on that argument, there are literally thousands of VR games available now across several platforms.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

i’m not talking about mobile “VR ***” apps.

which would be moving the bar to include those. because clearly we are not referring to those. lol. >>

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Melissa McDonald

Do you realize how long people have been developing for the Oculus Rift and how big their compatible titles list is? Entirely PC games.

Crow
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Crow

Yeah, anyone following the industry knows that a huge swath of big developers won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

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Modrain

If you’re thinking about AAA gaming, there is indeed very few people interested in it. However, the indie scene is very active on the VR front.

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Melissa McDonald

Better tell that to the Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic executives leading the JAUNT VR film company. There are billions of dollars and some of the brightest minds in the entertainment industry going after this medium with a vengeance.

Crow
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Crow

Absolutely, and the results are far from consumer apps. Which is the point. They’re using VR for all kinda of awesome, highly technical stuff. But it isn’t games and it isn’t really, actually, consumer focused yet. It is aimed at institutional and specific-tech uses (like how they used VR to direct a good deal of the Rogue One big space battle).

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FreecczLaw

I am happy to hear that, it hasn’t shown whatsoever on the actual market aside from like RE yet though.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

well sony is paying dev partners to support PSVR – but the nature ofthe PSVR itself in different ways shows their approach to the whole thing is more cautious in general.

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Sray

Even Sony’s partners are mostly offering up little more than tech demos though; and it’s coming mostly from smaller development houses that have publisher deals with Sony.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

well only reason i mentioned it is it’s being promoted alongside resident evil 7.

but even then it’s pretty much just a gimmick. but that’s probably one of the more substantial offerings i’ve seen for the tech at all outside of the niche of sims that highly favour it but have traditional alternatives that are less physically fatiguing to use.

Crow
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Crow

It is a tech that, I think, is really about a lot more than just simple apps and games. Mobile is pretty much the opposite in that it is easy, simple and generally low-effort to make apps whereas VR is a whole big problem in itself in terms of knowledge-base.

Like many things I wouldn’t be surprised if this is actually pretty dependent on the next generation of education where VR stuffs will be more baked into the knowledge-set and not this exotic, new thing.

Basically, like every tech it is still very young.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

it’s really like any gimmick peripheral in years past, adn game dev companies have a recent reminders in wii and kinect to caution their risk taking with VR.

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Arktouros

There are things that work and there are things that don’t work. You won’t know which are which until you try it and sometimes it’s more about total features than it is just about the device. There were MP3 players before the iPod (Rio anyone?) but the iPod is the one that made them big.

VR, specifically, creates a lot of challenges to a developer. Beyond the physical limitations of the hardware (consideration for the various play space each person has, wired headset makes rapid turning difficult, etc) you also end up with a large number of other unknowns (movement controls in game for example) that coupled together make the entire venture, at this stage, fairly risky on what does and doesn’t work.

Large companies aren’t about taking risks they’re about churning over safe profit. Safe profit is how we end up with Call of Duty: #42. So them not being involved at this stage in the product’s infancy is completely understandable. In fact most of those cases you are talking about, such as Kinect or Wii, any large company to develop for them was likely paid money to do so thereby reducing their risk.

Crow
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Crow

So, they’re trying to move as many units as possible before they’re court-ordered to cease?

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

buddy is at gdc this year as every year and he noted the massive occulus rift booth with heavier than normal construction materials he things required a crane or something to put together.

he also says there’s vr headsets every 40ft or so throughout the show room floor.

he say tho that most of the interest in VR isn’t coming from game devs at teh conference but from enterprise angles like architecture firms and such.

it seems tho they are trying hard to woo potential killer app game devs to develop for them. as opposed to teh kinect/wii sports style gimmick games that make up the bulk of VR supporting library. unfortunately i doubt many game companies are looking at the profit potential of the OR (or vive) given their ongoing sales performance woes as a place they want to take risks.

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Sray

Zuckerberg himself said that he purchased Occulus for its potential as a communications tool. I just don’t understand why they’re trying so hard to push this first gen tech on the consumer audience, when the commercial applications are going to be more profitable, and truly push the technology to a place where it really is ready for a mass audience in another two to three generations (aka 6 to 8 years).

Crow
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Crow

Because the OR purchase’s price tag keeps going up and up and up without a solid revenue stream in sight.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

to be fair it too facebook itself a long time to generate profit but eventually it did unlike it’s peers.

Crow
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Crow

Even so, the burden is on the managers and analysts to prove a route to profitability. There are constantly calculations being made to justify current red lines. However, as a brand or division ends up getting toxic, those calculations tend to become less rosy and often lead to liquidations and sales.

Considering the legal mess, stripping OR down and selling the various parts a la carte may end up being an attractive option.

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Veldan

The price of the oculus stuff may have dropped, but the price of a new PC has not…

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Sray

Exactly. The Rift and controller may have gone from $800 to $600, but the PC it takes to run them still costs at least $1000, making the total package at over $1500. This might change once we start seeing Ryzen 5 series CPUs hit the market later this year -which may very well bring the price of VR capable PCs down to the 600-700 dollar range- but then you’re going to be looking at a peripheral that costs as much as your PC itself: still a tough pill to swallow.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

if today’s ryzen reviews are any indication, amd is still second class for bang for buck in gaming when cpu matters. and dx12 and vulkan don’t help it against intel at all.

maybe that’ll change with their mid range ryzen cpus as you hope, but i’m not holding my breath even if i think ryzen is at least a substantial improvement over the FX series years of non substantial itterations on teh bulldozer base.

and this is assuming that a bulldozer 2.0 scenario doesn’t develop once these chips are in teh wild and facing against games that are more dependent on CPu than the typical review bench list that at worst go easy on amd’s traditonal game performance weaknesses.

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Esoteric Coyote

Reddit had drama over the Ryzen vs Intel. I think the general consensus was the Ryzen isn’t a gaming CPU and better benchmark testing is required. I reserve judgement till it’s release. But I will check out the benchmarks from 3rd parties.

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Sray

The artificial benchmarks suggest that there’s about 10% gaming performance at 1080p resolutions that just seems to be “missing” (for lack of a better term) for an as yet unknown reason. Could easily be firmware and driver updates that are as yet needed; but since 1080p is still the most commonly used gaming resolution that is an issue. But the benchmarks are also showing that the performance gap closes considerably at higher resolutions, which is where gaming VR tech lives, so it might be less of an issue. Plus, most reviewers tend not to (or can’t due to NDAs) measure multi-tasking performance like Twitch streaming; which is increasingly a consideration a game streamer like yourself can appreciate.
Still too early to tell until they’re actually out in the wild.

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Yoshi Senpai

Still a nope.

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