It’s no secret that Oculus has had just a bit of trouble throughout 2016. From meme investments, a slow roll out of hardware, and the attempt to keep Oculus software exclusive pretty much failing, the company is in a weird spot. I’m sure they weren’t expecting to be dropping the price on the Rift so quickly. The Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch will both be chopping off $100 from their base price. That means the Rift, which was $599, will now be $499, and the Touch, which was $199, is now only $99. The bundle for both, formerly priced at $800, will now run you $589, which really only saves a ten spot, but save some cash when you can.
From sales reports and their own company’s admission, neither the Oculus or their main rival, the HTC Vive, sold that well in their first year. These sales were pretty expected and neither company expected a sudden boom in VR. Companies that focused on cheaper experiences, like PSVR or mobile VR, have become the leader in consumer VR hardware while Oculus and HTC push the boundaries for those willing to spend the money. Maybe this price drop will now encourage more consumers to make the leap to Oculus since it’s now only $150 or so above PSVR, less if you check out PSVR bundles. This also pressures HTC, who now stand-alone as the high-end VR experience still sitting at $800.
Jason Rubin, VP of Oculus Content, attributed the price drop to consumer demand, saying:
“We’ve given hundreds of thousands of demos, and at the end of every demo we give out a survey. All the surveys say ‘This is awesome. I want to buy VR.’ The vast majority of people are blown away; those that don’t buy, the number one reason they don’t buy is price.”
Rubin goes on to say they still don’t expect an explosion of users, but instead think they’ll be focus on “the incremental user.” Maybe this also opens Oculus up for new hardware in the future, perhaps a lower end Rift and a higher end Rift. VR is still in its infancy, and as long as Oculus can move beyond the bumps from 2016 they can really push the future of the medium.