Oculus VR wants headset to be free, eventually

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


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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.

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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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