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Oculus VR ‘worried’ about PC Prices with Oculus Rift

Oculus VR has made of point of making the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) affordable. Although the company is yet to put an official price on the upcoming consumer version of the kit it has in the past said that it is aiming to place it in the range of $200 USD – $400. But an Oculus Rift all on its own won’t run VR experiences; it also needs a solid PC to run truly immersive videogames. The price of such hardware is something the company has admitted that it’s ‘worried’ about.

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Oculus VR’s VP of Product Nate Mitchell said as much in a recent interview with Metro. “I think the truth is though, with the Rift at least, even though you’re spending $350 on the devkit you do need a high-end computer to be able to power it, right?” Mitchell reasoned. “Because of the displays and everything else. And that really becomes the gating factor. Because if everyone can afford the $350 headset but then you need a $2,000, or a $1,000, computer that’s a huge cost. So that is one of the biggest challenges we have, moving into the consumer market. And something we’re worried about.”

Mitchell went on to talk about the complexities of the future in which display resolutions will increase and hardware would remain expensive. He did however reason that, within ’10, 20, 15 years from now, it’ll get better.’ Of course this high-end hardware isn’t necessary to use the Oculus Rift itself, but to keep videogames running at the recommended 75 frames per second (FPS) running in a 4K resolution will certainly require efficient computing power.

It will be interesting to see how Oculus VR tackles this challenge as it looks towards mainstream adoption of VR. The enthusiast market will surely be happy to pay up for the necessary hardware, but what will it take to get families to buy a PC capable of running VR experiences? VRFocus will continue to follow Oculus VR in the future, reporting back with any further updates as it heads towards a consumer release.

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  1. It seems to me game enthusiasts will find a way to get what they need, but the bigger market is for those who don’t play Triple A games anyway. The desktop PC market has dried up in the last decade precisely because there was no reason to buy a premium computer. A smartphone or tablet can do everything that most people want to do. If there is an experience that people want, then they will happily buy the hardware they need, just like the 90’s. I mean really, people are spending $700+ on a friggin cell phone. Make it awesome, and we’ll find the money to get it.

    1. I can’t speak on the desktop PC market, but PC gaming has a resurgence in recent years. The PC is flooded with great indie titles and more and more companies that historically only made games for consoles are putting the effort into good PC ports because the gamers and dollars are there. In addition to companies that have always made great PC games and continue to do so. Those people are playing these games on something and many of them have considerable system requirements,

      But the real reason I’m replying here is that I categorically refute your statement that a smartphone or tablet can do everything most people want to do. Aside from truly casual gamers I think this is absolutely false. The capabilities of the touch screens are remarkably limited and there’s a vast PC, and console for that matter, population of gamers that would vocally decry that opinion.

  2. if people have jobs they will lay down $1200 for a desktop capable of running HD VR. A desktop computer that use to cost $1200 to build for games 15 yrs ago is about what one would cost in today’s technology. Price hasn’t changed that much.

  3. It doesnt take 1000 to make a gaming computer, the ones that say this are buying brand not computer. Gamers by default sink tons of money into their rigs anyways so no worry there, and it wont take much for those wanting to watch vr movies and such. They are just worring for not.

  4. With the emergence of 4k TVs, one would think the graphics card makers are scrambling to design cards that can push 4k easier.
    I never understood the console gamers. They spend upwards of $500-600 on a console after another controller and game. They complain PC gaming is too expensive, turn around and buy a cheap laptop or desktop for $400-500, because everyone needs a computer. Did they really save much money, if any? You can build a decent gaming PC for $1200.

  5. Seems to me like the pairing of Oculus Rift and Valve’s Steam OS platform is too ideal not to mention here. Both companies could benefit immensely from the official pairing. Oculus solves it’s $1k-$2k “box” problem by pairing with a $500 platform with a library of games already offering support, most users already having a library built up. And Valve has an out of the box advantage over the legacy and current-gen consoles, and potentially solves it’s controller suitability for PC gaming problem (too complex to explain here).

    I’d drop $800 – $1000 in a heartbeat for an officially supported kit of the two. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  6. I haven’t been a “gamer” in many, many years, but I’m building a high end machine just to be able to use Oculus Rift. This will be nothing short of revolutionary and I want to experience it.

  7. Once the market demands a reasonably priced machine to run an immersive VR environment someone will see dollar signs and figure out how to produce it.

  8. I’m 30 and haven’t built a computer since Highschool, and I told myself in college after beating half life 2 that I would never play video (pc) games again until it became completely immersive VR, something that I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. That day is just around the corner and when the dk2 was released I built a computer just to handle the HMD requirements for VR gaming. $3000 later I don’t regret it

    1. …After playing games like elite and windlands on dk2, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I mean even my memories of playing the games in VR are like real life lucid memories as if I were really there and experienced them in real life. If I have to spend another $1-3k next year to upgrade my hardware requirements for a consumer Rift I won’t hesitate. Current specs:

      4.0 Ghz Core i7 4790k
      6 Gb Evga Gtx 780 will eventually SLI
      32 gb corsair ram
      500 gb Samsung ssd

  9. Well said Stevie, I also believe that people are willing to pay the (high) price for a great product. See how much Apple charges for a ‘mobile phone’ and how well they did by making an amazing product (and good marketing). So the challenge for Oculus VR is to make the Rift worth the price, for both the Rift itself and the neccesary hardware.

  10. It’s also important to keep in mind that a lot of people will be able to simply upgrade their existing PCs instead of shell out $2k for a whole new gaming PC. Even people who know nothing about their computer hardware except how to plug it in and turn it on probably have a friend or family member that knows how to install a new graphics card. High end graphics cards ain’t cheap, but they cost a lot less than a new PC.

  11. Millions and Millions of PCs did not just get dumped, perhaps some have been sitting a little unused as the mobile infatuation Apple started enticed an entirely new market of consumers but I’d would wager it attracted people who were never much into sitting at a desktop computer anyway. These little devices are not practical productivity tools as anyone will have learned if they’ve tried to write anything more than a Tweet or a Facebook entry, edited a video or recorded a multi-track song. Sound quality and video resolution and indeed good VR requires dedicated sound and video cards with memory and processor speed paramount. Desktops and even some decent laptops have that power and if anything, people may just need to upgrade their video card on their desktops, processor speeds have not changed all that much since this mobile frenzy took the world of new users by storm. I actually bought an under $500 quad core ‘game machine’ and updated the video card… The DK2 runs not too bad at all when the programming code is well executed. Let’s face it, prices have stabilized lower on desktops than for a tiny phone, I think once people get what VR is all about, it will seem a small price to pay for the closest thing to a ‘halodeck’ experience that I’ve ever seen. As such, interactive ‘movies’ for these HMDs will take entertainment to a whole new level! Compared to the IMAX sized screen I am seeing in the Oculus DK2, our HDTV is looking like a postage stamp and extremely 2 dimensionally ‘flat’.

  12. I bought a second hand i5 PC with SSD that’s more than man enough for dk2 for $400 , then another $450 for a gtx970 . It runs 3d mark top benchmark at 22000, better than 89% of all other pcs ever tested.

    Millions of family’s can afford that so there’s no problem starting VR today. Tomorrow it will only get cheaper and then it includes everyone else.

  13. Ocul us s hould be worried. I’m very excite to pick up the consumer version as soon as it’s released. I could justify the cost of the headset but with a new baby I’ll not be able to afford the new pc to run it. My old pc will not be worth upgrading and I do my gaming on ps3. i’m a kid of the 90s and loved virtual reality back then. i’ve been following oculus rift since kickstarter and have tried it a few times as well. if a Super fan with a fair paid job and a family can’t afford the full kit needed they have a problem

  14. In order to experience VR, you only need an old pc really (I got an Intel Q6600 still with a Geforce 9600GT and a Oculus Rift DK2 which I bought for 230,- euros used). I’d say, 500 euros/ 600 dollars will do the job, with a used pc and used Head Mounted Display like the Oculus Rift DK1. With other words: If you really want to test and try VR, it’s definitely possible for 300,- dollars when you have an old computer with average graphics card (like 4-5 years old). Don’t forget that a Head Mounted display is actually nothing more than 1 small LCD monitor that needs to be fed with graphics. The DK1 is such low in resolution that it will run without a problem probably. The DK2 needs more processing power of the computer and graphics plus it has a higher resolution screen, but it’s also newer and harder to get in a short time (still 8 weeks waiting time on https://www.oculus.com/order/ ).

  15. You guys use a random PC lately? the Windows experience with VR cables and drivers is absolutelt not for the iPhone/Droid crowd dll erros and such limit VRs real audience

  16. Apple just figured out how to power a 5K apple retina display using the same specs and their regular apple computer and just an i5 CPU. Figure out how Apple did it and you won’t need super powerful gaming rig.

  17. That’s why I am keen on the gear VR by samsung. They are doing what smartphones did in the late 00s- going for mass appeal. They already have the portability factor going there way.
    I have been pondering over this issue of the PC though and I made a post on the oculus forum stating whether I should go for an assembled PC or make it myself(I am a tech noob, though I can teach myself). Everyone said its better to assemble yourself.

    Some company like dell should come up and offer a PC at a reasonable price to go with the oculus. Like a combo offer, maybe even oculus will collaborate- what do you think?
    See, what I feel is that virtual reality will be so epic, it will blow people’s mind away. I mean the average public out there doesn’t even have a clue what they’re in for. Don’t you think they’d readily shell out the cash after they’ve experienced something like this? Out worldly? They fork out a good 800 odd dollars on smartphones, why not VR

  18. It is a challenge and opportunity for the whole hardware industry but if Oculus is good enough it won’t be a barrier.

    The main point I see is that given these issues with most PCs being underpowered for 4k at 75fps, OR shouldn’t worry so much about keeping their costs down since the system will start out as a niche product anyway costing thousands of dollars.

    The critical thing is for them to hit the mark of making a transformative experience possible out of the box and not nickel and dime the product to get it under $400.

    I’m hoping this will include integration with Leap Motion and a 4K display.

  19. As a PS4 gamer the cost of switching to PC for the Rift is prohibitive and complex. Which PC? What hardware? How much do I spend? How long before it becomes obsolete if I don’t spend enough? At the moment I’m going for Project Morpheus but Sony are making me think twice with their tight-lipped attitude. Makes me think they don’t have much confidence in their own product. I don’t. But until there’s a Gaming PC at a good price to run the Rift it’s a quagmire I’ll avoid.

  20. Enjoying this thread! I am torn at the moment. I desperately want to order a DK2 but the best spec PC I have in the house at the moment is a laptop with a GTX 580M card in it. I think this might just manage a few of the simpler demos but I dont expect to play any ‘proper’ games on it – maybe Half Life 2 at a push as I seem to get 60fps+ on my 1080 display.

    So….my choices are:
    1. Get a top spec laptop with 2 x GTX 980M in SLI (although for now would need to disable 2nd card on most Oculus demos/games as nVidia havent release the true VR drivers yet that mean each card processes one eye’s image….without that the SLI configuration actually introduces lag). Will get me going with most games…and my missus doesnt want another ‘big box’ in the house….but then I am locked in to those graphics cards and when the final CV1 spec comes out – presumably with 1440 resolution (or maybe even 4k?) not sure how long this setup will last me.
    2. Get a well specc’d desktop – but only put a single GTX 980 in just now…..then when CV1 comes out I can decide to add another for SLI….or wait and get next gen GFX cards. Missus wont be happy (sadly more of a factor than I would like it to be!)
    3. Just forget the whole thing and wait until CV1 comes out then make my decision then. But I wanna play with DK2 noooooow!!

    Thoughts?

  21. the problem is oculus is way behind compared to most others most of the other vr headset builders build the graphics requirements in to the headset

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