What Twitch is doing feels like the opposite of charity.
Oculus VR was never going to be the cheapest product around. Ever since it was Kickstarted, founder Palmer Luckey has been forward about how expensive it could be. For awhile the price hovered between $300 and $350 for some of the development kits and Oculus was trying to keep the price stable. Since then Luckey has changed a few things. Those development kits were using re-purposed parts, but now Oculus will be using custom parts developed with partners like Samsung. This change will increase the production cost and thus the sale price for the final product when the Oculus goes to retail early in 2016.
Luckey explained in detail why he came to this decision. He sees the Oculus Rift not just as one of the first VR helmets on the market, but also the best possible VR experience for newcomers. It’s smart to put your best foot forward and prove to the curious onlookers and skeptics alike that VR really does work. At some point, however, overpricing VR helmets prevents newcomers from trying just as easily as it might convince them that this is the next step.
Oculus is positioning itself to be the elite VR helmet on the market. But the market is about to be full of competition and which will prevail? Cost and experience or convenience and ease?