In the 2-year journey since its original Kickstarter pitch, Oculus VR has gone from a garage project into a $2 billion company, and along the way, the team has released 2 developer versions of its Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. It's still one of the most exciting names in VR today, and most recently, Samsung launched the Gear VR headset for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in partnership with Oculus.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey set a ballpark range for the price of the consumer version of the Rift, which many believe is going to launch in 2015. According to Luckey, the Rift is going to cost users between $200 an $400, which will depend on a number of factors.
"We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range," he told Eurogamer. "That could slide in either direction depending on scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, business negotiations."
"Whatever it is," Luckey added, "it's going to be as cheap as possible."
However, he did not comment on the potential date by when the Rift would launch, saying only that when Oculus does release the headset, it will be done with a full ecosystem of applications.
There have been several changes between the original Rift Development Kit and the Rift Dev Kit 2, which were released one year apart, and if the 2015 deadline is to be believed, there could be plenty of changes between the Dev Kit 2 and the consumer version as well.
The resolution was improved significantly between the Rift DK 1 and DK 2, and if Samsung and Oculus continue to work together on displays, and the Rift moves from the Note 3's screen to the Note 4 screen, then the resolution will move up significantly again. Luckey did tell Eurogamer that the resolution for the consumer version will be higher than that of the DK 2 but he didn't give more detail. He also said that the refresh rate will also go up from 75Hz to 90Hz, to provide a smoother viewing experience, but at the same time, the consumer Rift could also be smaller and lighter.
As we noted after trying the Dev Kit 2 for ourselves the VR experience is already incredibly polished, from a hardware perspective, but today, software - both in terms of applications, and also a unified interface that makes it easy to explore and discover new apps - is going to be essential for the success of the Rift. From what we saw demonstrated at Samsung's launch of the Gear VR, this is something the Oculus VR team has also been focusing on.
The DK 2 is currently available on pre-order for $350 - over 20,000 units have been shipped so far, but that's against over 60,000 orders. The influx of funds from Facebook could also lead to improved production capabilities, to meet the growing demand for VR, particularly as it starts to be showcased for more than just gaming. With any luck, this will mean that the long wait for the consumer version will pay off in easily available, and low priced, yet still high grade VR experiences for everyone.