After GDC 2017, lots of things have changed in the VR world. Nothing unexpected, but lots of little big news that show how virtual reality ecosystem is evolving very fast.
One of the most interesting news has been the one of Oculus cutting 200$ for the price of Oculus Rift + Touch bundles. Since Touch cost is 199$, this practically means that if you buy a Rift, you get Touch controllers for free! Furthermore, if you want to buy an additional tracking sensor, you’ll get a discount of $20 on the previous price!
Why Oculus has made this? Well, in my humble opinion, because they had to do something to gain more customers, since:
- Their reputation has been ruined by the mess on tracking updates (room-scale on Oculus not working well for all users until few days ago) and by Zenimax lawsuit (Zenimax has somewhat won, argh);
- PSVR is being a great competitor on the console side with a price as low as $399;
- Vive got lots of attention in the last times due to the release of the Tracker and the fact that it is an always more open ecosystem (now targetting even Linux).
Oculus made lots of stuff to emerge during the GDC: the working update on tracking runtime; new content revealed (Robo Recall has been released for free!); the price drop on Touch. They’re fighting to survive! Great!
The news of the price drop of Oculus hardware comes with other announcements from the last months:
- Oculus and Valve working for making their headset to work even with older graphics cards. This is super-important because VR-ready PC are so expensive because of the advanced graphics cards that are necessary for VR… working with older graphics cards means working with older PCs, so lowering the entry price for VR consumers;
- NVIDIA revealing its GTX 1080 Ti, the brand new graphics card, with 35% more performance than GTX 1080. This news makes me sad, since this means that my GTX1080 for which I’ve spent a shitload of money now it’s an old toy; but makes me happy because this means that all older VR-ready graphics cards (including GTX 1080) will see their price drop, again lowering the entry price for VR consumers;
- PSVR, the Sony headset, costs only $399 and works out of the box with a PS4. It’s so cheap that they’ve hit the 1 million sold headsets mark (the first non-mobile headset to reach these sales numbes);
- Microsoft working for cheap headset with inside-out tracking, with price starting from $299 (half of the Rift, yikes!). At GDC it has presented the first of this serie, made in collaboration with Acer.
- More headsets popping each day, meaning more choice for the users, more competition and so lower prices. For example LG is developing a Steam-VR compatible headset that will be in competition with Vive;
So, VR prices are slowly lowering. And we know that VR is still not widespread because of:
- High prices
- Lack of content
The first point is slowly getting better (VR is still expensive, but it’s not super-expensive anymore, thanks to these latest news). The second… too: Oculus has just released Robo Recall for free (if you don’t know what it is… well, go on Oculus Home and play it!!) and Valve announced 3 games it’s working on.
So… the times are coming guys. Always more people will enter in the VR world, and we will all be immersed in the metaverse!
(header image by Windows Central)