Be prepared to pay a pretty penny if you’re looking to experience the latest virtual reality technology with Facebook’s latest gadget — the highly-anticipated Oculus Rift headset was released on Monday, and although fans were ecstatic about taking home a virtual reality headset of their own, many felt that the price was a sticking point. Of course, strapping on the futuristic goggles is said to be an entirely new and thrilling way to experience technology, taking gaming to new extremes and social media to new levels of reality. But despite the anticipation, many potential buyers were left wondering: How much is the Oculus Rift headset? Turns out it's going to cost you a good chunk of change.
A spokesperson for Oculus attributed the $599 price tag on “expensive components and manufacturing processes that have never been used before,” reported by CNBC. The high technology used to create the headset comes with the need for a powerfully robust high-end gaming PC for it Rift’s graphics to fully deliver to consumers, which may set you back more than $1,500. Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey has already insisted that Macs simply aren’t powerful enough.
The headset ships as a bundle with an Xbox One Controller and two games pre-installed. Don’t worry if you're a rabid gamer: After you’ve made your way through those games, there will already be 30 new video games waiting for you in the queue (all of which are currently in some stage of development).
Aside from the gaming angle, Facebook has plans for the Oculus platform for our everyday experiences. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced the acquisition on his Facebook page and shared his vision for the possibilities the technology could provide for the billion people who use the social media platform.
“Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home,” Zuckerburg wrote. “Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones.”
As with most technology and social media, a challenging market is usually present. Just next week, HTC will launch its $799 Vive VR — and that extra $200 will get you some fancy wands and a clever headset that will let you know before you walk into a wall, among a long list of other specs.
Facebook has a lot of faith, more than $2 billion worth, in the development with Rift’s possibilities and has acknowledged that it may take time for it become widespread and something that everyone has to have. Back in October of last year, Zuckerburg interviewed with Vanity Fair about his plans for the headset and possibilities for it to evolve, just like smartphones.
“It’ll ramp up slowly,” he said in the Vanity Fair piece. “The first smartphones … I don’t know if they sold a million units in the first year. But it kind of doubles and triples each year, and you end up with something that tens of millions of people have. And now it’s a real thing.”
Virtual reality is here and it’s pricey, but the possibilities for it seem pretty amazing if one day it becomes just as accessible as your smartphone.