Oculus has announced another price drop for its virtual reality headset as part of its Summer of Rift sale, taking the cost of a headset and Touch controller bundle to just 399.
That’s another 200 off its initial price cut, and puts it within just 50 of Sony’s PlayStation VR headset. The new price won’t be permanent, however, as the Rift + Touch bundle will go back up to 598 in six weeks’ time, so now’s the time to get one if you’ve been hesitating over whether to take the plunge.
Admittedly, UK buyers may feel a little short-changed given the new US sale price is also $399, but speaking to MCV, Oculus’ VP of content Jason Rubin said he felt that "this $200 is a bigger deal than the last $200" and that the Rift has finally reached "a compelling price point" for the average consumer.
"We think that [a 399] price point is very mass market," Rubin said. "It’s been proven on other high-end VR systems that are succeeding right now, and we think with the best library in the business, even more great announcements of software coming in the near future, and really the best multiplayer and single player games out there, that now’s the time to do this and really drive people into high-end VR. So we’re very excited to announce that."
This isn’t a symptom of lacklustre sales, however, as Rubin told us that hardware sales have been "strong" since it knocked $200 off the original price of its Rift and Touch controllers back in March.
"[The first price drop] definitely affected hardware sales," he said. "But again, there are golden price points.Every dollar is not an equal dollar.We dropped $200 last time, and the percentage of the total and the price you end up at is a very different price drop in the same $200 as a ratio of this price. As well as that golden dollar, you end up at a place where people say, ‘Oh this is something I can totally do,’ as opposed to, ‘I’m thinking about this, this is a large purchase,’ right? It’s not a linear progression down to zero."
Rubin also told us that we’re likely to see more of these sales events in the future, too: "We, as a Facebook company, are experimenters. We believe in learning through data, and we believe in learning through testing and seeing what works, and we’ve always known and we’ve been very clear that VR was going to be a) a challenge to get into the mass market, but b) inevitably going to succeed in the mass market. And so, as a company, we tend to test the waters with sales.
"We know we will get there. We are 100 per cent confident VR is part of the psychological entertainment future. We just don’t know what exact road we take to get there, so these experiments are a big part of what we do."
For more of Rubin’s thoughts on the first year of VR, make sure you check out our Virtual Reality Check articlewhere we speak to the teams behind the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.