Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset finally went on pre-order yesterday for $599 (approximately Rs 38,935). The price tag is pretty hefty compared to an estimate of $350 (approximately Rs 22,700), which Oculus founder Palmer Luckey had suggested in September at the Oculus Connect developer conference. Also Read - Facebook acquires Oculus Rift VR studio Sanzaru Games
After the unexpected price tag brought immediate disappointment and criticism from the tech world, Luckey took it to Reddit to participate in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session. The 23-year-old inventor apologized by saying, “I handled the messaging poorly.” He further explained that he was a little “frustrated” when media outlets suggested that Oculus Rift would be priced around $1500 (approximately Rs 97,000). Also Read - Oculus launches Medium 2.0 with revamped UI to easily create 3D sculptures
Luckey mentioned that in September when an interviewer asked him about possible $350 (approximately Rs 22,700) price tag, he said, “We’re roughly in that ballpark… but it’s going to cost more than that.” Also Read - HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have a vulnerability that can cause serious harm to users
“My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599, I apologize,” Luckey wrote in the AMA session.
To run VR applications, the headset will need an expensive, high-powered PC. To tackle this, Oculus also plans to offer Rift headset package along with a compatible PC for $1,499 (approximately Rs 97,000).
“We could have released a lower-quality product and saved one or two hundred bucks, but the all-in cost for the average consumer (including PC) would not have budged significantly,” Luckey added.
After initial orders, Luckey also spent some time on Twitter, defending the headset’s price. He blamed European taxes for higher cost when ordered internationally. When asked about the price of the company’s upcoming Touch controllers, Luckey said, “No more ballparks for now. I have learned my lesson”.