Home / Opinions / Oculus Rift Price: Yes it's expensive, but it's not overpriced

Oculus Rift Price: Yes it's expensive, but it's not overpriced

Andy Vandervell


Oculus Rift games

OPINION: Outrage at the Oculus Rift price forgets how advanced and complicated a product the Rift is argues Andy Vandervell

This is a predictable outrage. Gamers, ever cursed with a noisy, entitled lunatic fringe, took to social media to decry the $599/£499 asking price for what promises to be a revolutionary bit of kit.

They moaned ever louder once Oculus confirmed a new one will come out next year, perhaps labouring under the idea Oculus would just down tools and do nothing for a few years – it's not as if your Rift will stop working after a year, is it?

Oculus Rift

Palmer Luckey, founder and CEO of Oculus, was decent enough to admit he'd handled things badly. He had, in the past, suggested the Rift would be around $350 (£250) or more, but Oculus also previously stated that a Rift and a PC powerful enough to run it could run to over $1,500/£1,000 – as our look at how much an Oculus ready PC will cost, that's more or less correct.

Oculus never claimed it was producing a mass market product and a brief glance at the tech inside the Rift proves why. The Oculus Rift is pushing previously unexplored boundaries, and that costs money.

Oculus Rift 3

There are two Full HD OLED screens in the Rift. Not just cheap, OLED panels, but high-performance OLED panels running at 90Hz to ensure smooth, stutter-free motion.

There's expensive optics in the lenses to create the virtual sensation, built-in headphones with top-end 3D audio technology and high-quality sensors to enable the 6-axis motion detection.

Oculus Rift 5

I'm not done yet.

You'll get an Xbox One controller, which is $59/£40 on its own, and there's an external camera sensor and a remote for controlling non-gaming functions.

Oculus Rift 9

You get all that for $50/£40 less than an iPhone 6S and $150/£120 less than an iPhone 6S Plus. Neither have an OLED display, let alone two of them, and the optics inside the Rift are no less complicated than the iPhone's camera.

Oculus doesn't have decades of supply chain experience. Oculus doesn't have the buying power of a seasoned manufacturer shipping millions of products. And Oculus won't even make money on the Rift hardware, as Luckey confirmed in his recent Reddit AMA.

Oculus Rift 11

The Rift even compares reasonably to consoles and new tech of times past. Sure, it's at the higher end of the scales, but it's trying to do things few other products in the list did. Oculus isn't being unreasonable, it's selling a hugely complex product that's been years in the making at a price that makes them no money.

No money.

Oculus Rift 13

The price of innovation is always high, but it will come down. Anyone writing off the Rift on this account should show a little faith.

And quit whining.

Do you agree with Andy's view? Share your thoughts in the comments


January 7, 2016, 6:58 pm

Also if you want VR to succeed then you have to support it. I bought several Gear VR games primarily to encourage the developers to write more of them. I've pre-ordered the Rift and will probably also buy the Vive and Morpheus when they're available (unless they're rubbish).

Also we need to keep buying phones with pointlessly high resolutions as that's funding development of the screens VR desperately needs in order to become mainstream; until the picture quality improves dramatically it'll remain niche.

Of course we're really waiting on the lasers that can project the image directly onto our retinas, which should hold us until they get the neural shunts working to beam the images directly into our brains. Think it's a hassle upgrading your TV because it doesn't support the latest HDMI standard? Wait till you have to upgrade your brain!

Noel Grundy

January 7, 2016, 7:10 pm

Hell yes I do agree with him. Mines on pre-order. Now all he needs to do is send me the e-mail to confirm this, as LOTS of people are having issue with whether or not their Rift is ordered. People for some reason expect something for nothing. Sadly life doesn't work like that.

mark choletti

January 7, 2016, 7:39 pm

VR in 2016 will not herald a revolution in playing games. The hype surrounding the technology reminds me of the advent of 3D television and those £200 glasses needed to watch it. And we all know how that turned out. Price is important. As is the business cycle, which is in the beginnings of a severe downturn, so VR is coming out at exactly the wrong time. VR will have its time when the rendering technology is good enough to be included in the device. So, maybe in a decade or two, VR will go mainstream. Until then, this will be another misstep, like in previous decades.

Mere Adviser

January 7, 2016, 9:39 pm

I do agree with all the points made, except for the comparison with the products above.

Let's compare apples with apples, these products are all standalone devices, whereas the Oculus Rift is a PC accessory. That's a bigger problem than the price itself, forking out for £1k PC to make it work.

Nevertheless, we can't really complain if they are really making no money from them. If you don't want this premium product, get the cheaper DK1 or DK2 or another VR headset. Google Cardboard anyone? You get what you pay for.


January 7, 2016, 11:36 pm

What kind of dumb journalism is this. Comparing gaming consoles with the Rift. Which is a PC accessory. That needs a PC which will cost 1000 dollar minimum.

Apis Bull

January 8, 2016, 8:49 am

Then price of large cod 5d, Now £6.50..........
Be nice if you could just use it out of the box with nothing else.

Mark Stanbrook

January 8, 2016, 9:50 am

This is a reasonable early adopter price for new technology. I paid £600 20 years ago for my first DVD player. £1000 for the first Iiyama 27" CRT nearly 20 years ago. £600 for an early Trinitron TV over 20 years ago. And so on. So what if it's an accessory? So is a DVD Player, so is my 4k monitor (£600). Heck, my headphones on my PC cost over £300. If you don't like the price, do what people always do, wait for the 2nd and 3rd generation products and the imitators. By then it'll have proven whether it's a technology that's here to stay anyway and there'll be a reasonable amount of software that supports it well if it has done so.


January 8, 2016, 11:47 am

Wow, ok.

They haven't just thrown a bunch of stuff together in the cheap plastic box, they've spent years fine tuning the experience in a totally new category and finding solutions to problems no one had found before.

PS4 is a great bit of kit, but it's an evolution of decades of old technology using highly commoditised materials produced at a comparatively low cost.

Moreover, Sony is selling at much higher volume, which drives down the cost considerably.


January 8, 2016, 11:48 am

And a games console is a TV accessory.


January 8, 2016, 11:49 am

Yes and no, all games consoles require a TV for example. Admittedly most people have them, but at some point everyone had to upgrade to enjoy the HD graphics of their consoles.


January 8, 2016, 11:51 am

Which the whole world has. Not everybody has a computerdesktop that Oculus requires.

Ps. For Europe we have to pay 741 euro


January 8, 2016, 12:01 pm

Everybody had to upgrade there tv to enjoy the HD graphics of their console. Serious. Where do you get that kind of info. I respect youre opinion. But you have to admit you have youre facts wrong on this.


January 8, 2016, 12:24 pm

looks like you've got your work cut out here.. the victim status so enjoyed by insecure young men seems to be half the traffic on the internet. It clearly is good value for money. If a couple of years ago a product had launched for £1000 that did what oculus have done it would have sold like hot cakes.


January 8, 2016, 12:27 pm

I think you're wrong. If good developers come up with some interesting content they will sell well. I've tried quite a few oculus set ups and it is very impressive and immersive in a way that people will want now.


January 8, 2016, 12:30 pm

saw something on tv years ago where they had put a 3.5mm jack plug into someone's skull with some clever gizmo that translated the info into the signals we send to our bran from our ears. The person was listening to music (presumably not in stereo..?) and said it was like the music was coming from within. Very strange, but quite likely we'll do the equivalent with eyes at some point if we've not all blown up/starved before then,


January 8, 2016, 12:32 pm

I was making a general point, not talking about hard facts. There's no denying the Oculus is expensive to get the most from it, but games look better on a £1,000 TV than a £200 one. In a sense, Oculus is kind of like a TV. An advanced, motional tracking, 3D, virtual reality TV, but still a TV.

I am curious to see how it compares to the PlayStation VR, though. Sony could really corner the market if its headset turns out to be decent enough. I suspect the VR experience on the Coulus will be better, but sometimes 'good enough' is enough.

We'll see.


January 8, 2016, 12:36 pm

True, but we always knew Oculus would need a powerful PC to run. If the Rift cost $350 instead of $600, it would still be expensive taken with a PC and accessory together.

If I were building an expensive gaming PC, though, I wouldn't rule out spending $400 to $500 on a high-quality monitor. In a way, that's exactly what the Rift is. An advanced, virtual reality monitor for a gaming PC.


January 8, 2016, 12:37 pm

I am afraid that both are not 'good enough' everyone that had the experience in demo's are still complaining about video quality that has to be better. You are right. Time will tell.


January 8, 2016, 12:49 pm

I am afraid that comparing the Oculus with a monitor is just wrong. A monitor is an essential component for overall use of the computer. Where the Oculus is an extra accessory
to use for VR gaming. But you are right it is an advanced accessory for those of us who are willing to spend (a lot of) money on it. But just not comparable with gaming consoles and smartphones,-)

Ps. Not to sound rude. I myself pre ordered the Oculus because I am in the fortunate position to have the money to do so. I even don’t mind to indirectly pay for the devices they are giving away free to those who have bought the DK1.-)


January 8, 2016, 2:02 pm

Not at all, it's been an enjoyable debate. Hope you enjoy your Rift if/when it arrives.

Danny Beatz

January 8, 2016, 3:37 pm

Yeah, but if it were $350 it would be much more affordable. For me I would have definitely brought it for that price, but with it being that expensive, I'd rather buy a better video card for around that price or use the money for something else.

I really think they've made a mistake rising the price like this, because now they missed a wide margin of people who could afford it at $300-$400, yes people are going to buy it, but no where as much as they could.

I think at the end of the day they let money blind them. To think I actually donated money to them over a year ago when they had a kick starter. smh

Danny Beatz

January 8, 2016, 3:43 pm

So wanting at a reduced price ($300)is wanting something for nothing? Wow, you just made your comment irrelevant. We see why you agree, but unlike majority of, you can afford it. For a lot of people, $600 can be a huge setback if invested in the wrong place.


January 8, 2016, 4:01 pm

They're not making any money on the hardware, though. None at all. It's a heavily subsidised product to hit that price.


January 8, 2016, 4:02 pm

I do not see the issue here other than he made a boo boo with the "around $350" quote. They have created a new piece of kit that a lot of people want and clearly they have spent a fortune creating it. If it were not for Oculus this technology may still have been years away, so good for them and I for one cannot wait for this to develop further. How about virtually being able to star in your own movie or being in the Apollo 11 craft as it landed or even or being able to time travel, the list is endless as the software and hardware develops...Quality kit costs and we should support it.

Antony Smith

January 8, 2016, 5:57 pm

Its not that the Oculus isn't worth the $600 price tag, Cutting edge tech does cost a premium and I'm sure it worth every penny.
But people following the Oculus was under the impression it was going to be cheaper which is why it came as such a shock.
I had planned around dropping £350 (which I think is around $500) on hearing that it was $600 (£410) while I was at work I thought ok that's a bit more than anticipated but roughly what I was expecting. I went to the webpage to place my order only to find they want £500 ($730) this is inclusive of relevant taxes but does not including shipping costs.
As you can imagine this was a bitter pill to swallow guess iv lucked out, trying to convince the wife that spending £500 on a "fancy hat with a TV built in" probably wont sit well.
I do wish it the best though and hopefully if enough people do put down maybe a cheaper model will be released further down the road.

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