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The millennial space race – affordable and accessible virtual reality

(TECH) The competition for affordable, accessible VR is set to give consumers a big pay off.

virtual reality VR

Sale on VR

Facebook just lowered its Oculus Rift’s price by a whopping $200. The VR bundle, previously priced at $798, will now only set you back $598.

That’s right, a ticket into the virtual world will no longer cost a month’s rent.

Will HTC respond with their own price drop?

It’s unlikely.
“We don’t feel the need to cut the price of Vive, as we’ve had incredible success, and continue to see great momentum in market,” Vive spokesman Patrick Seybold said in a statement to UploadVR.

Vive vs Rift

Based on SuperData reports, the HTC Vive, priced at $799, outsold the Rift in 2016.

The Vive sold 420,000 units compared to Oculus Rift’s 355,000 units sold.

Meanwhile, Playstation’s VR set sits ahead of both PC based sets, with more 745,000 units sold in 2016.

No k.o.

So should Facebook’s price cut be seen as a counterpunch in the virtual reality headset sales battle?

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Not quite.

At present, Facebook is focused on the long-term battle to bring VR to the masses.

Trying to be more approachable

A lower price point is just one weapon used to break down the entry barriers.

Complex PC requirements are another turn-off for mainstream consumers.

Yes, some high-end gamers may already have a decked out VR-enabled PC. The rest of us, will have to fork over at least $500 to meet Oculus Rift’s basic spec demands.

Facebook is trying too

Fortunately, Facebook has already made moves to lower the Rift’s minimum hardware requirements and overall entry price with Asynchronous SpaceWarp.
This new technology sounds intimidating, but according to Oculus, it’s actually a step towards simplification.

“Asynchronous SpaceWarp (ASW) enables users to run the Oculus Rift on lower specification hardware than our current recommended specification.”

Competitors are following suit

In a recap of last week’s annual Game Developers Conference, UploadVR reported that the company Hypereal will also move towards lower minimum hardware requirements in its upcoming Pano headset.

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As for HTC, they recently got behind a wireless accessory made by a company called TPCast.

If HTC can deliver a headset with built-in wireless capabilities, it’ll be a huge win in the drive to simplify VR.

VR showdown

Ultimately, I predict this need to simplify VR will be where the battle for wider adoption is won. Early adopters in the gaming community may disagree, claiming that more and higher quality content is key. Facebook made a lower price point the priority.
[clickToTweet tweet=”For the rest of us and especially the business world, I think simplifying the VR setup is key.” quote=”However, for the rest of us and especially the business world, I think simplifying the VR setup is key.”]

A simplified setup allows for flexibility. The more flexible VR seems, the more creative businesses will get in envisioning its use cases. As of now, businesses are seeing a barrier of technical configurations to cross rather than a potential ROI.


Written By

Staff Writer, Arra Dacquel is a San Francisco based writer. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Davis and is currently studying web development. She’s obsessed with tech news and corgis, but not in that order.

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