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.

Written By

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

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Discussion

300 comments
KingSardine
KingSardine

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

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."

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.

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.

Garm31
Garm31

You think the 3DS hurts you eyes. This thing will give you a fucking brain aneurysm. Got to love that feeling of motion sickness. All for just $300. Bargain!

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.

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!!

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.

auliaackckck
auliaackckck

Sure it's free. but how can it be marketed to Countries that are not First World Countries?

FastLeaD
FastLeaD

I would love to use Oculus Rift for Forza5,...real headtracking ftw! But I just can't decide wich console to pick...I'm an Xbox-User since the first Xbox, but also familiar with the Playstation 2. My personal reason for passing out the PS3 was the controller. When it comes to the battle between Ps4 and Xbox1 i'm totally insecure. I can't really get rid of the feeling that in the long run,...both systems will screw me over. Thats not a diss to the new gen consoles in general,...but tbh I just don't trust the developers. I heavily assume that both systems will be featuring your all beloved drm,...because the developers decide to. This is not a thing too be happen in the first year of console release, but it will come. For all of us gamers!!! So I'm honestly considering to ignore both systems an concentrate my games on my mac. But there is a big flaw in my plan,...mac ain't got games...-.-

HiroArka
HiroArka

My roommate got a dev kit and I have got to try out the RIFT. Though it is a lower resolution than what the Commercial release will be it it is still amazing. I am excited for the horror game potential. So far I have seen Demos and Minecraft on it. I am also looking forward to the Omni. I would recommend looking up the Omni on Kickstarter

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

I don't ever expect this thing to be free, but if this is the route they want to go I can definitely see it becoming more affordable, which can only be a good thing.

I'll admit as stoked about the Occulus as I am I'm not going to put down 300 bucks for it. If it dropped to under 200 at any point my wallet might be more willing to open, but 300 bucks prices me out of it for the time being.

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.

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.

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.

Crystall3d
Crystall3d

@Gamer_4_Fun can you provide a link?

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

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.

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.

Slade968
Slade968

@FastLeaDThe solution is so obvious though. Build a PC. Then you can actually use the Oculus Rift when it is released. Also, there is no hassle of choosing between consoles because PC is the clear winner. And while you are occupied with the greatness that is PC gaming you can keep an eye on the consoles for the first year or so of their release to figure out which one will best compliment your amazing rig. Also, all the games are backwards compatible so any older games that are made to support the Oculus Rift are available to you.

Join the glorious master race, it is so much better up here.

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."

Garm31
Garm31

@svdbygrce02 @Garm31 Have you? Have you even read any of the articles on the device. People getting motion sickness and headaches. Even the videos make me ill.

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.

FastLeaD
FastLeaD

@Slade968 @FastLeaD I get your point, but I already own a strong system, and I'm not planning to invest in a second one. For me personaly graphics doesn't matter. Before I ditched out Windows I used to play a lot of old school half-life. Lot of fun if you mod it. I don't want to troll against Win, but I'm not very happy with the course MS is taking with it. All this touch stuff...don't care don't need.

My Mac is kinda good for gaming. But just like I said....the Games are the problem. I know you can emulate Win on a Mac but I don't want to, because Win can't see the Mac's fusiondrive. :-/

I got a i7 QC 3,4 with 32gb ddr3 sdram and a 2gb gddr5 graphicscard. So I don't want to spend another 1200 € on a gaming pc only.

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.

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

@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?

amdreallyfast
amdreallyfast

@Garm31 @svdbygrce02 I read that the headaches come from some people's brains having difficulty adjusting to the pseudo 3D.  When watching pseudo 3D, your eyes have to converge on one distance, but your eye lenses have to focus on a constant distance.  Some people's minds have difficulty with this, which is why there is a market for ThinkGeek's 3D to 2D glasses :).  There is a concern that kids should not be exposed to too much pseudo 3D because this non-natural dichotomy of differing convergence and focus distances can screw up what their brains perceive as normal sight.  This is still an early area of study, so maybe kids' brains will just adapt as they grow and not have problems, but its a concern anyway.  Your difficulty is pseudo 3D is perfectly valid.  I am fine with the pseudo 3D, but my weakness is multiple planes of motion.  I can't read in a moving vehicle for more than a few seconds without getting sick.