It’s been a long wait but the price-tag for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has finally been confirmed today — and it costs $599 (plus shipping).
We know because TC editor Matthew Panzarino just managed to order one…
U.K. pricing for the headset is £499. Oculus said it will initially ship to 20 countries, and will also be available in “limited locations at select retailers” starting in April. Pre-orders kicked off this morning.
Remember you’ll also need to own a PC capable of powering Rift to enter its VR playground — so if not you’ll need to factor in that additional cost. Oculus said it will be making so-called ‘Oculus Ready’ PC plus Rift bundles available for pre-order in February, starting at $1,499.
Also confirmed: the month the consumer Rift is slated to ship — which is March. Previously Oculus has said to expect the headset to arrive in Q1 2016. So it remains just about on track there, although — update — the pre-order site is now saying the Rift is sold out until May so it’s starting to ship in Q1.
(And of course, without a figure on the number of units available to pre-order we can’t learn anything useful about the appetite for the gizmo at this nascent stage — whatever Oculus claims about a community of VR “lurkers“.)
As previously confirmed, the Touch controller for the headset, which will let wearers interact with the stuff they’re seeing in VR by enabling them to do stuff like pick up virtual objects and so on, is not shipping at the same time as the Rift.
But there is an option to get “in line” for the controller during the Rift pre-order checkout process, which then leads to an Oculus account sign up page. Touch controllers will then be made available in order of these sign ups. (Oculus says it isn’t taking any money from buyers til kit ships.)
The company has previously said the Touch controller will be coming in the second half of the year — so the dream of ‘proper, immersive VR’ is going to continue to stand just out of reach for much of this year too. Virtual reality — such a tease… In the meanwhile, Rift early adopters will have to make do with the Xbox One controller that the headset ships with (and the two bundled games).
Despite the Oculus pre-order site running off a Facebook CDN the website has apparently been struggling with the spike of early adopters all clicking simultaneously to try to secure a Rift. After months of teaser hype, and an instruction that pre-orders would kick off at 8am PT sharp, a spike was inevitable but it’s a little odd the expensive backend infrastructure has apparently not been able to cope…
Update: Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has tweeted a little explanation for the pre-order site woes — blaming would-be credit card fraudsters…
So is $600 too much to be an early adopter of VR? Time will tell. It’s certainly considerably more expensive than the dev kit version of Oculus, which was priced at $350. And of course it’s not hard to find people slamming the price-point on Twitter… But — my two cents — it was never going to be priced for the mainstream because VR is not a mainstream technology. Not for the foreseeable future anyway. Luckey has said as much himself.
What else can you buy for $600?
- One high end smartphone
- At least six cheerfully cheap Android phones
- Six Samsung Gear VRs
- Almost, but not-quite, two Apple Watches
- Ten Fitbit Zip activity trackers
- Just under six Facebook shares (at current stock price)