SuperData weighs in on Oculus Rift’s price drop and rumored mid-end ‘Pacific’ device

If the Oculus Rift’s pricedrop to $400 last week wasn’t enough to get your hands reaching for your wallet, point your eyeballs at this Bloomberg report, which suggests Facebook is angling toward a $200 wireless device, a cheaper version of the more expensive platform. Supposedly code-named Pacific, the new headset is aimed at the middle market between smartphone-hookups and high-end desktop-style PC VR gaming.

Facebook has neither confirmed nor denied Pacific, but that isn’t stopping gaming analysts from weighing in (via MCVUK), including SuperData

“Facebook is not a company for the niche consumer – their selling point is how accessible their services are to anyone, anywhere. So finding something with the potential for mass penetration is a priority, especially with Rift’s bumpy past,” SuperData says. “However, an untethered, self-contained device for $200 seems like either a loss-leader or a highly simplified VR experience (for instance, Google and HTC’s new Daydream device will boast the same conveniences for a much higher price). Pacific may be a combination of both so that Facebook can finally have a long-term stake in the mass consumer market, but it’s too soon to tell.”

MIDiA Research has said the price drop showed a “lack of confidence” but that the new device is “smart” as a supplemental rather than replacement mid-range toy. Still, MIDiA says the games themselves are the key to mainstreaming VR.

“They will only start appealing to the mainstream, when/if their games catalogues of what users are able to enjoy start matching consumer expectations more closely. And, great games take time to produce. While discounting the existing, and producing new cheaper devices will play a role, entertainment VR will not pick up meaningful traction until there is a compelling content mix in place. Give it three to four more years.”

Source: BloombergMCVUK
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

48 Comments on "SuperData weighs in on Oculus Rift’s price drop and rumored mid-end ‘Pacific’ device"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Alex Malone

Meh, VR continues to be a gimmick and I can’t see its current form (headsets) ever actually taking off and being mainstream. The issue is the complete disconnect between what you are seeing and the movement of your character.

So, when I play VR games where my character doesn’t move, it’s great. This means racing games and space sims are pretty awesome in VR, especially when you have a full pedals/wheel/hotas setup going. However, any game that requires player movement just sucks in VR. Its such a jarring experience that I can’t comprehend how others enjoy it.

This is then combined with the fact that your sight is completely blocked. I can’t see my mouse and keyboard. This seems to necessitate a dumbing down of controls, either limiting it to the stupid motion controllers (which results in really weak gameplay), gamepads (which is alright) or you end up struggling with a keyboard.

So, for as long as VR remains restricted to headsets, I just can’t see it taking off.

Add to that I don’t trust superdata. Their insights and analysis suck and they have been wrong with just about everything. I’ve been following their public announcements for a few years now (as they’re posted here / mmorpg.com) and every single prediction they make has been wrong. The projections that Facebook made about the rift have also been massively missed too so not surprised they’re getting desperate and lowering prices.

All that said, I am keen to see a new gaming revolution. Whilst I can’t personally see a way forwards for VR headsets (specifically for gaming), I hope to one day be proven wrong. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong by a breakout game, or perhaps they’ll invent a new input device that is best for VR. My suspicion is nothing will work well enough for core gamers like me, so the only time I’ll bother getting a VR headset is when they drop to £50, at which point I would get one just to mess about with the VR tours type experiences.

Mewmew
Reader
Mewmew

$200 is definitely a mass market price, so the question is if this is really a mass market item.

You’re talking about the controls, which definitely is an issue. Right now stuff has to be too dumbed down for those floating VR controls. Either dumbed down or they make you manually do some tedious process you normally would just hit a key for.

Personally I have no issue with having to see my keyboard or mouse to use them. As long as you have a standard keyboard which have nubs on the F and J keys to let you feel where they are and that’s pretty much all you need. Most (not all of course) of us PC players are used to playing without looking at the keyboards honestly so you don’t really need to see them. Our games force us to use keys without the time to look down at our keyboards so for me using a keyboard with VR wouldn’t be an issue at all and I don’t think it would be for most PC gamers. Console gamers not used to keyboards may be another thing completely, but in reality everybody should learn typing basics :D

Though I don’t know how many VR games actually use keyboards and mice, most of them I see use the two floating controls which make for either ridiculously limited or complicated input.

Realistically there is very little I’ve seen that interests me enough to want to play VR much. While I don’t need to see my keyboard, I rarely am just playing games, I’m doing other things at the same time and need to be able to see my phone or tablet or other things around me.

There hasn’t really been much that has interested me about VR game wise, but the new Star Trek Bridge Crew looks really interesting in a party social game sort of way. Though when I’ve looked up videos of it, so far it’s looked like a good deal of the difficulty comes from using the floating controls well. I’m *guessing* that it’s because I’ve only seen videos of new players who aren’t used to the controls yet. That seems like a good idea though, you’re limited to your chair and have multiple other people doing other controls, really that seems to be one of the most perfect uses and ways to make a VR game at the moment.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

In my humble opinion you’re (and Zoe) approaching something new and wanting it to be like something old. New controllers that mimic your hands but with buttons and ways to manipulate items in the game is probably more like console gaming than PC gaming. To me the idea of using a keyboard or mouse in the VR space seems a little absurd.
Personally I find the “you are there” experience to be magical enough that I’m content with learning new ways to play the games, using hand controllers, but again, this is a thing in very rapid motion. The complaints people have are being tackled and solved.

Reader
Alex Malone

its all about gameplay.

when I play a racing game in VR (and according to friends, space sims), the gameplay is unchanged because the input devices (wheel/pedals or gamepad) don’t require my vision but the overall experience is improved because the depth perception allows me to position the car more accurately.

when I’ve played anything else, the gameplay is worse. The disconnect between my ingame movement and my input is really jarring. Those games that use motion controller inputs are just too simplistic (much like the Wii – entertaining for a short period of time, then you go back to proper gaming). If a game is going to require me to type (e.g. mmos) then the experience will be worse, unless you can touch-type reliably.

I have quite a few friends who bought into VR but they’ve all packed them away as the experience turned out to be a gimmick. Their minds were blown for the first 2 or 3 sessions, then it became normal, then the shallow gameplay kicked in and they quit. The only exception has been racing/space games – I have one friend who still uses his VR headset for racing games and E:D, but he does have bucket seat / wheel / stick / pedals for racing, plus the Warhog HOTAS setup for E:D. All my other friends keep their headsets packed away due to inferior experiences.

I’ve asked a lot of people, especially VR fans, to explain to me how VR headsets will improve gaming but as yet, none have been able to answer. It seems the ones who like it are just in love with the 3D vision. Thats fine, nothing wrong with that, but it does make it a gimmick.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I’ll ignore your frequent use of “gimmick” as you obviously are not one of the people that “gets” VR in the same way that I do, and there are actually millions of visors sold across the different brands, so I think history will prove you wrong.

No, it goes far beyond that. VANISHING REALMS, for example, is a VR medieval fantasy game where your body movements actually mean something. For starters, you are actually there. Fighting something is visceral and heart-pounding. Want to get the treasure out of the chest or coffin? You have to walk over to it, actually swing your arm to hack it open, and actually reach in to pull out the treasure. It’s crude in some ways, but it’s next-gen and incredible in many other ways. And will only get better.

Nothing can beat VR for immersion. No flatscreen can compare. We’re going to see more, better, wilder, crazier, deeper experiences. Resistance is futile :)

Reader
Alex Malone

Yeh, I realise a lot of fans of VR dislike the term gimmick, but I’ve been having this argument over on mmorpg.com for over a year and fully researched the meaning, as well as VR, before I started using it.

The hallmark of a gimmick is the promotion of a feature that helps sell the product, even if that feature does not actually improve it.

In this case, VR retailers are using 3D vision / free look / motion controllers to promote a better gameplay experience, even though they don’t actually improve the gameplay.

Now, thats not to say that VR can’t be fun – it obviously can be – and it’s not to say that gimmicks can’t sell well – they often do. However, gimmicks have no staying power because eventually, we all realise that the reason we bought into the gimmick (in this case, improved gameplay) isn’t actually being delivered. Maybe one day we’ll get there, but we aren’t there now and I can’t personally see a route forwards.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

sorry about the blank post, can’t delete it, wot-wot? Did you check out the YouTube video for Vanishing Realms, Alex? I hope you’ll see how genuinely new of an experience it is to play a fantasy/medieval game like that… it’s as close to LARP as a game can be – but with special effects, and fantastic creatures. And that is what makes VR special to me, you were looking for an explanation of how a VR visor improves gameplay, that is one for you.

Reader
Alex Malone

Hey Melissa, finally got round to watching the gameplay video. Still not convinced, looked like a very simple game. Was interesting seeing the way they implemented movement and the menu system, but overall looked like too simplistic gameplay for me.

So again, I stick to the gimmick assertion – using 3D vision and motion controllers to cover up the reduced quality of gameplay. I grant that it is a very different experience to usual gaming experience and if you really like motion controller input and 3D vision then it will definitely seem like a superior gaming experience. But, if you value gameplay, it is still a net loss.

I’d be curious to know what sort of times VR fans are logging with their setups. For most of my friends, it’s taken 50-100 hours of gaming before they’ve given up and packed it away, usually spread across 10-15 games. They all started with similar sentiments to you “it feels like you’re really there!” but without exception that feeling wears thin.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Reader
Koshelkin

From all that hype we’ve gone to a “bumpy past”. Oh VR how hast thou fallen.

Reader
Zoe

I could handle a VR headset if I could continue using my keyboard and/or mouse. I’d treat it like a more immersive/comprehensive monitor. I don’t like the idea of having to get up and move around while gaming. I suppose I also don’t like the idea of having to wear a VR headset either. I’d like to think future monitors can simply induce a VR effect with some laser/brainwave trickery.

Tarka Roshe
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Tarka Roshe

You don’t have to get up and move around in all VR games. Some are sit-down based. It depends on the game. I tried VR for the first time the other day, its quite amazing. However, I can understand the reluctance to wear a headset. I’m getting the Oculus myself, and as I can type without looking at the keyboard, I’m curious as to whether I can used a keyboard and joystick whilst wearing it :)

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Yeah, I have been thinking this too. You can’t move around for real anyway, because as said below, even if you can move around inside your room that’s still tiny compared to a game world. They shouldn’t bother with that aspect and just use VR for the visuals, I think that would be the only viable way to adapt most current games for VR.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

Never forget the Holodeck on Star Trek is no more than 30′ x 30′ (if that) and they seemed to be quite pleased with it. Software can mitigate this in a variety of clever ways.

Tarka Roshe
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Tarka Roshe

@Veldan Not all games require masses of space to use VR in. Once you’ve set up the space you can safely move in (even if its a couple of metres square), some games are quite intelligent in dealing with that. Of course, the more room you have the better.

But then, not all games require you to move very much at all. It depends on the game.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

:)

ViewmasteR.gif
Reader
Koshelkin

That looks like the headset gets screwed onto his face. Ouch.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

That was the effect I was going for :)

Reader
Arktouros

“Pacific” is basically just a Daydream style project, basically a stand alone VR headset that’s a mobile phone with a bit more purpose/power in it. But ultimately this is still what I call “sub-VR” because, fundamentally, it doesn’t really change the way we interact with content. It has a few view gimmicks (like 3DTVs) but in the end you’re still standing/sitting/laying there taking in content. What I call “real VR” where you can stand up, walk around and actually interact with an actual virtual environment just blows that experience out of the water.

The price drop for the Rift is simply because by all estimates they weren’t selling their product as well as the others. If they’re investing millions in exclusive content they gotta sell their devices for that to work if they’re going to keep the walled garden up against the Vive. That said, I still wouldn’t recommend the current generation of VR even if it drops in price even further. We’re closer to a Gen 2 product at this stage than further away from it and by then we’ll have more content to take advantage of.

Reader

Niche product is still niche and will continue to be niche for the foreseeable future. I was excited two years ago. However, with the laundry list of limitations and problems. I still do not see this penetrating far into the current gaming scene in the next few years.

PurpleCopper
Reader
PurpleCopper

I REALLY regret not buying the Amazon deal where you buy the Oculus Rift for $400, and you get a $100 Amazon gift card for free.

Tarka Roshe
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Tarka Roshe

Oculus are doing a major drive at the moment. They’re permanently selling the Touch and Headset (inc. wireless gamepad and games) for 499. But also doing a “sale” with 100 off. Unfortunatley those of us in the UK are getting a little stiffed, because Oculus are selling the Rift for $399 in the US (exc. taxes), and £399 in the UK (inc. VAT). When you factor in the exchange rate, the UK is ending up paying about £80 more for no obvious reason.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

It’s really moving fast. There is a new unit called Gameface that has cross-platform compatibility, many advanced features, and twin 1440p screens. It also has a wider FOV than the others at 120 degrees.
The next generation will have no need of laser sensors placed around the room. The visors themselves will do it, including your hands, and then, your body, into the VR space. This headset, dubbed the “EP1” is at developer kit status currently. But it may be the most ‘complete’ system yet: https://www.engadget.com/2017/07/17/gameface-labs-vr/

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
zeko_rena

Hmm I like the sound of that, especially two 1440p screens, I am still using my DK2 so the whole low PPI is really something I would like to upgrade!

I looked online at Oculus actually after the price drop, $450 USD including shipping, which is about $662 NZD here which isn’t bad considering the Vive goes for $1500 over here

But sadly anything over $400 NZD has huge import tax so I would be paying another $141 NZD on top of the $622 :(

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Yeah it sucks sometimes when you live outside the US. The current Rift + Touch bundle is 400 USD, which is 348 EUR if I use the google conversion rate. Yet if I select my country, the price is actually 450 EUR

Reader
Armsbend

I come to VR articles for the Melissa comments. She knows as much or more than anyone.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I come to read Aktourous’ comments :)

Reader
Arktouros

<3

pid
Reader
pid

Another 3-4 more years? My pocket scientist (Ray Kurzweil) said it was going to blow away everything mid 2016… why is VR still so far away? meatspace always throws monkey wrenches into works…

Reader
Arktouros

There’s a few factors here.

For one, it’s generally agreed most full on AAA experiences take a few years to develop. So even if they got started a year ago, it’s a few years out at least. Shorter titles won’t take as long but there’s a glut of high quality, short duration games on VR currently so that doesn’t help much.

For two, the hardware is still in it’s nascent stages. We’re standing on the edge of having a “screen door” effect to having better resolution than any other device/image. New controller inputs like the Knuckles controllers can dramatically change how users interact with your game as well.

For three, there’s a lot of experimentation of what “works” in VR. I’ve played some games where they want you to hold the grip button to keep your sword in your hand it’s like after 30 minutes you want to just say, “STOP WITH THE GRIP ALREADY!!!”

So it’s going to go slow. Some companies are really focused on pushing VR and making VR a big thing right away but it’s just going to take time.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

because it isn’t good enough – yet. People want the Holodeck. They want Minority Report. We’ll get there. But VR as we know it in the coming years will be the child of thousands of parents, with multiple companies solving various problems.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

Consider me intrigued. I could definitely see throwing $200 on a headset.

I wonder if it’s not meant to provide an experience similar to TrackIR, in a slicker, more consumer-friendly package. That is to say, something that requires an existing screen rather trying to plaster two HD displays on your face. Trade some immersiveness for greater accessibility.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

it’s going to be a completely self-contained wireless unit with its own processing and screen. Supposedly the middle tier between Gear VR and the Rift.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

Price drops are cool, however as some people also pointed, without any compelling game which would make this “a must” accessory it’s just a $400 (or even $200 – doesn’t really matter if it’s still useless) collection of electric components. Only thing it is currently useful for is a driving/flying sim games (or anything which puts you into a static seating position within the game), and there aren’t many of these. EVE: Valkyrie looked promising but currently it’s a very simplistic game which doesn’t integrate into main EVE Online game, so very few people really play that right now. Perhaps Elite: Dangerous would currently be a better match, but I don’t know, I don’t play that…

Other than these very specific type of games (driving/flying sims), the current VR googles of any kind are largely useless (a short-term gimmick for impressing your simple-minded friends with), at least until omnidirectional treadmills and full-body suits with haptic feedback would become more affordable and supported by majority of games ;-)

Reader
Melissa McDonald

room presence eliminates need for treadmills. I can’t see haptic suits ever really being a thing. It’s far more likely the headset will trick your brain into “feeling” things with electricity (a lot of work being done on this tech actually)

Reader
Sray

How does room presence eliminate a treadmill? Unless you have a gymnasium, you can’t sprint towards anything; you can’t roll from cover point to cover point. Player movement is still very limited, thus still heavily limiting what can be done with games.

Bluxy
Reader
Bluxy

VR will be moving away from Traditional FPS thank god, well those are my thoughts

Reader
Melissa McDonald

it’s just too clunky of a solution, in my humble opinion. I could be wrong but I don’t see anything involving a harness or rig or any kind of constriction catching on. “running” may end up being a niche pursuit in VR, due to that truth you are stating. Already app developers favor “teleporting” to requiring people to actually physically move more than 15 feet or so. But that doesn’t mean a 15′ x 15′ space doesn’t allow for a LOT of physical movement A whole year ago I read about real estate agents already including verbiage about bonus rooms being “VR spaces”. Times are changing – rapidly. I am obsessed with VR, and it’s hard for even me to keep up with the rapid pace of development. I get that some folks here don’t believe, or discount it, or pay it little mind. For me, I feel as though I’ve seen the future.

Reader
Sray

It just seems to me that without the ability to have unrestricted movement, we’re somewhat genre limited to FPS variants, racing/flìght sims, and RTS/”god games”. I see VR as having a fair bit of potential in the larger entertainment sector (and massive commercial/business upside), but not specifically in the gaming sector due to the constraints.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

The unfortunate thing is that gaming is the last piece of the puzzle. There are voluminous experiences (particularly of the travel/documentary ilk) one can enjoy, hundreds of hours of them, right now, from the Oculus store, for free. There are all sorts of social apps and simple games and tie-ins to movies. The JAUNT company especially has dozens of unique film-based VR experiences that put you into the action. Their horror apps like Black Mass Experience are truly terrifying and unsettling – I believe VR horror will require disclaimers if not signed waivers – there’s going to be some heart attacks, they are too realistic even with this tech in its infancy.

But if you expect the equivalent of an A class MMO in VR, it’s not there yet. We’re getting a lot closer, especially on a game-centric platform like PlayStation VR.

I think we all know the Rift and Vive are priced beyond most people’s ability or desire to pay for them. This is a market correction. I remain convinced that tethering is a no-go for good VR, and the 2nd generation of visors we will see in 2018 will mostly be wireless. That may be a better time to get in. Having a USB and HDMI cable running down your back simply isn’t optimal. Using the Rift and Vive only made me more appreciative of the wireless Gear VR. Sure, it lacks room presence, but its resolution is the same, and it’s less bulky, you feel more free simply without wires. Not saying Gear VR is as good, but it’s better than you think, and keeps improving. It is, after all, the mobile Oculus VR headset.

semugh
Reader
semugh

when Blizzard is porting WOW onto rift or whateva, VR will be ready. Not a moment sooner.
VR is a niche just like MMOs were before 2004.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Eh, whatever will be considered the first “killer app” for VR, it sure won’t be WoW

Bluxy
Reader
Bluxy

Only VR is a short good experience, not a long one like most MMOs

the more time you spend n VR the more anxiety and frustration you get as the world is closed off behind the blinkers and all the bodys senses are immersed

this leads to generally having fun in a half hour to two hour window…. any longer and it is uncomfortable

Tarka Roshe
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Tarka Roshe

Whilst such statements may apply to people who really aren’t that suited to VR, it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone. So I gotta wonder where you’ve pulled such statements from.

semugh
Reader
semugh

blizz said they are aiming for 15 mins dungeons runs (this was in WOTLK at their peak).
The age of 8 hours Molten core runs are over.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

If, the Pacific isn’t complete potato quality, and right now that’s a big if, I could see it getting some pretty alright traction at $200 for a wireless option.

But I’m struggling to think how they’ll do that, even while taking a big loss. If it’s anything near the quality of Gear VR, I can’t see it making much of a splash. Sure, Gear VR works and all and there’s a few neat things here and there, but mostly the image quality is so bad that it seriously detracts from any attempts at a good VR experience. Couple that with the fact that a helluva lot of the software still seems insanely rough (controls for a lot of apps are bloody awful), and I’m still struggling to see it getting much success on the hardware front, and even less so on the software front.

But hey, maybe they worked some magic and will blow my mind. I’d be pleased if it was the case, but I still think mainstream success for VR is many years off. The tech just still isn’t ready, despite what analysts and tech writers continue to tell us (THIS IS THE YEAR OF VR!!!…for the 5th time, but not like the last 4 times, this time we really mean it!)

Tarka Roshe
Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Tarka Roshe

Even the Rift is far from a perfect image right now. If you remember the mobiles from 10 years ago which started having the colour screens, and you could see the tiny lines dividing the screen up, that’s what you can see using the Rift. However, with that said, you do get used to it.

I think its going to be about 3 years until we see the next “gen” versions with better quality screens hit the market.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

check out the new 70-megapixel visor from VARJO. Current generation only 1.5 MP.

wpDiscuz