Oculus VR wants headset to be free, eventually

Virtual reality company says Oculus Rift headset could eventually be given away through subsidized offer.

Developer Oculus VR would "love" for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to be free one day, CEO Brendan Iribe told Edge during the recent Develop conference in Brighton.

In discussing launch plans for the device, Iribe said the Oculus Rift is expected to be publicly released for $300. However, through potential subsidized offers, the headset could be free sometime in the future, he said.

"The lower the price point, the wider the audience," Iribe said. "We have all kinds of fantasy ideas. We'd love it to be free one day, so how do we get it as close to free as possible? Obviously it won’t be that in the beginning. We're targeting the $300 price point right now but there's the potential that it could get much less expensive with a few different relationships and strategies."

Sony is considering "many" pricing options for the PlayStation 4, while Microsoft has already released a subsidized Xbox 360. This business model, also widespread for cell phones, could be implemented for the Oculus Rift, Iribe said.

"You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidize consoles because there's enough money to be made on software and other areas, then there's the potential that this, in partnership, could get subsidized," Iribe said.

"Let's say there was some game you played in VR that everybody loved and everybody played and we made $100 a month--or even $10 a month--at some point the hardware's cheap enough and we're making enough that we could be giving away the headset."

Iribe made clear that "we're not there yet," but the company is thinking "all the time" about how it can make the Oculus Rift free.

Oculus Rift headsets are currently available at $300 for development kits. Oculus VR recently secured $16 million in venture capital funding to "accelerate" development. No public release date for the headset has been announced.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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293 comments
KingSardine
KingSardine

I'd honestly rather just have a controller in hand.

predatorGS
predatorGS

@KingSardine I'm not sure if you just replied to someone, so my reply could be out of context.
The Oculus is not a controller, you still need a controller/keyboard/mouse. It could be made into one, but for now the focus is seeing in the world and looking around. For moving your body/car/plane you need other input.

robitussin217
robitussin217

I'm not sure I can strap a TV to my face. "Oculus: Completely blind yourself to the outside world and take one step closer to living completely in an imaginary one."

kalipekona
kalipekona

@robitussin217 

That strikes me as a very funny position for a gamer to take.

That's all movies, novels, and games have ever been about: leaving the world behind for a time and entering an imaginary one.

robitussin217
robitussin217

@kalipekona @robitussin217 Yes, as you say; "for a time." And I think it more accurate to say, "to an extent." My meaning is just to ask when does escapism become excessive. The oculus strikes me as a step closer to the sort of excessive escapism featured in "Inception" and is arguably even worse than the screens that constantly hover over the mobile chair-bound people in "WALL-E."

miser_cz
miser_cz

@robitussin217 @kalipekona I really can imagine how one can easily get lost in the immersion, loosing track of time far more easily than by starring at the monitor. As time will go, and VR gets more and more complex and sofisticated, and devices like kinect allow to use our bodies for interaction, users might be more and more hesitant to leave those fantastic worlds. In the same time, internet will evolve into sort of parallel universe, so it won´t be so much of an escapism, but rather choice where you feel is your place.

Traditionalist will of course always proclaim the first "real" world as place to be, but futurists on the other hand, will dwell happily in cyberspace, where they will work, have girlfriend, and enjoyment, and through which they will interact with the first world (like ordering nutrition, and different services).

The philosophical question therefore stands: if you have two worlds, where one is limited, and the other limitless, is it wise to choose the limited one just for sake it was one we´ve been born to?

Xanedis
Xanedis

@miser_cz To be fair, though, isn't the 'real' world the one that is limitless, and fictional the one that is limited? At least, that is my opinion. You are free to dissect it and offer yours, of course.

miser_cz
miser_cz

@Xanedis @miser_cz I was anticipating this counterpoint. It boils down to the definition of limit. If we will be strict, considering our universe was made with specific parameters/rules and resulting possibilities, then it must be in one given moment limited. You might argue, that this limit might evolve (widens/narrows) in time, because universe is likely to be everchanging. Although this might be true in intergalaxian context, it doesn´t affects inhabiting organisms in observable amount. On the other hand, you could postulate that the "second" world must be inherently limited, as it was created in limited universe. I would then play anthropocentrism card of limitless human mind, which, provided it has absolute power over "matter", can create limitless world.

EL_Bomberdor
EL_Bomberdor

Got a feeling this thing will end up being banned for health reasons. If people are going to hospital through this having a physical effect on the gamers eye sight etc won't take a millisecond for a country to ban the thing. It needs to be absolutely risk free or this will get banned.

miser_cz
miser_cz

@EL_Bomberdor Technically, its the very same principle which is now widespread all over the world in various form of 3D cinema. Nothing different is happening to the eye. So - I believe its already well tested.

soolkiki
soolkiki

I would love to see something like this be free, I just wonder how they will license it to other companies and if that's how they'll make their money.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Subsidize != Free

In order to get something free under subsidization you have to sign up for some sort of service since it is the fees for the service that end up paying for the device.

Maybe Oculus Rift is looking to do a subscription service with an a la carte games library that users can select from and play through without having to buy each game?

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

"One day it will be free" And with everyone holding out for that I'd suggest you'll go bankrupt before it becomes free.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Hope it comes to PS4 very soon, I heard Sony was quite impressed with the tech.

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

@Gamer_4_Fun can you provide a link?

nvmind , found it, it was "Shuhei Yoshida" that liked it and has a devkit.

number004
number004

Still waiting for NerveGear. I can dream

drybones41
drybones41

I doubt it'll be free but i wouldn't mind though :D

I can't wait until we get to the point that we are actually "in" the game.

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

One eyepiece is larger than the other? Or is it at a weird angle or something?  

Gravelord_Nito
Gravelord_Nito

don't really wanna have anything on my head when i play a game. but i can see many liking this a lot

jaapdeaap
jaapdeaap

Nothing is for free. Free means that you'll probably pay more for it over the long term than just buying it outright. That said, I would happily buy the rift!!

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

@jaapdeaap They mean have it come bundled with consoles or graphics cards or something along those lines so people don't need to shell out the full $300 and have Nvidia or Sony help pay for the costs as a promotion.

jaapdeaap
jaapdeaap

@Toysoldier34 @jaapdeaap I understand its a subsidy model. Here in the Netherlands we get all sorts of "free stuff" with various services and subscriptions. Free i-Pad with a news paper subscription, free TV with a energy contract. I even got my original X-box for free with my cellphone contract back in the day. 

But believe me when I say that I payed that X-box three times over at the end of that contract.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I can see them being bought over by one of the large companies in a few years. So that one of them will make it their console exclusive.

kalipekona
kalipekona

@punksterdaddy 

Will never happen. Oculus doesn't want it to be locked down to one console. 

It will already be released on PC anyway. It's not like they can just disenfranchise that market. 

Consoles are an inferior platform for VR, simply because they don't have the hardware power to pump out a solid 60fps in full stereoscopic 3D with next gen visuals.