Why Oculus Rift Will Cost More Than $350

Palmer Luckey explains why the first consumer model won't come cheap.

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Although Oculus VR has yet to announce a final price point for the Oculus Rift consumer model, creator Palmer Luckey has now confirmed that it will cost "more than $350." In a new interview, the 22-year-old said he wants the headset to be the best it can be--even if this means it will carry a premium price tag.

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"We're roughly in that ballpark, but it's going to cost more than that," Luckey told RoadToVR when asked about the long-rumored $350 price point. "And the reason for that is that we've added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days.

"And it's not a matter of, 'Oh we're selling more, we can make more money!' It's just the reality that when you make this thing you have to decide what tradeoffs you're going to make; are you going to optimize for absolute lowest price possible, even if it's gonna be a lower quality experience?" he added. "Or do you try to say, 'You know what, this is the first consumer VR headset that were going to be pushing out to people. We need to put a stake in the ground and say: this is the best possible experience that we were able to make. No compromises were made in terms of quality.' Get the cost down as much as you can on that experience, but make it so that the Rift is something that everybody wants to use to the best of your ability."

Luckey went on to say that "it would really suck" if the first consumer Oculus Rift model was perceived to be good, but not quite there. This may result in a higher price point, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Another reason why the Oculus Rift consumer model will cost more than $350 is because virtual reality is still a relatively niche market; the headset uses a lot of custom hardware--and these components aren't cheap.

"I would say I think people are going to be happy with what they get for the price because I really do think it's going to be that best VR headset you can buy," Luckey said.

It's also likely that Oculus Rift pricing, like most other major electronics, comes down in price eventually.

"With all the projects we're working on and all the partners we're working on, I'm confident there's going to be VR existing at multiple quality points and price points," he said. "And with the Rift, it makes sense to do what nobody else is doing which is invest in making the best possible quality headset."

Previously, Oculus said you should expect to pay $1,500 for an "all-in" setup that includes a capable PC and the Oculus Rift headset itself (which comes with an Xbox One controller). Recently, Oculus announced a line of "Oculus Ready" gaming computers that start at under $1,000.

By comparison, Sony has said its PlayStation VR headset will be priced like a new gaming platform, which would be in the $300-$500 range.

Oculus Rift is slated to launch before April 2016, while PlayStation VR will debut before July 2016.

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