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Oculus Rift pre-sale price creates a rift among gamers

Oculus Rift is making some big news this week with the release of their virtual reality headset, however, is it really worth it?

January 6th was looking to be a big day for many gamers out there. Oculus Rift was going to officially go on pre-sale and YOU could be a proud new owner of one. Once the pre-order page loaded today, a majority of the gaming community immediately had the wind let out of their sales. Turns out, the lower and affordable Facebook price of the Oculus Rift was going for the low, low price of $599.99! Allow me to be that guy real quick.

F*ck all that noise.

Here’s a few things about that $599 price tag:

  • It of course does not include the Touch. The Oculus controller is sold separately., but you get a remote :/!
  • It doesn’t include shipping. Hell, not even a courtesy reach around.
  • The game line-up is less than stellar. It’s like everyone took their games from the OUYA and put them on the Oculus Rift instead.
  • The only real AAA support comes in the form of games like Minecraft. A few of last year’s hottest indie games may make an appearance too.
  • No confirmed shipping dates. Due to rolling releases, I’ve heard that pre-ordered Rifts are as far out as May from those that spent the money on it.

What you do get is the Oculus Rift, an Xbox One controller, sensor and Oculus Remote. This would have been something to jump at if the price was $349 or so.

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I’m no stranger to the Oculus Rift

It’s a bummer. Don’t get me wrong here either, I actually really supported the Oculus Rift until today. I got to play a few games on it at E3 and it was a cool experience. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was fun to play a few of these games and really get the VR experience. A year later I can say Google Cardboard offers a very similar one. I love video games and I really do think we are finally at a point where we are going to see games do more than just look good. The experiences are going to become more robust. I hoped Oculus would be the start to these changes, but this shows it is another beast altogether.

I reached out to see what gamers on the market thought of it. Of the 20 people I asked; 3 said they already pre-purchased it, 7 said that there was no way they were buying it for $599, 2 said they were waiting for what SteamVR would offer, 3 said they wanted the Sony alternative, 4 said they’d have bought it for roughly half the price and 1 guy at Wal-Mart brought me over to the Alienware Alpha display and pointed out how aged the boxes were there while telling me “this is what is gonna happen to that”.

He’s probably right

Palmer Luckey, CEO of Oculus was even quoted in his Reddit AMA as saying the gen 1 Oculus Rift life cycle would be “Somewhere between a console and a mobile phone, much closer to a mobile phone.” That in itself is scary. Before you make the argument that we spend that much on phones now, consider the Blackberry Storm was a universally panned device. It wasn’t good. It was one of the first smartphones to hit the market as well. A decade later, the Nexus 6 is an amazing and sexy piece of tech, but that didn’t happen over night.

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My take on the Oculus Rift:

The Oculus Rift, as a peripheral, is selling for $600. Judging from the majority of people I saw confirm that they purchased it, many seemed to be making the impulse buy because they wanted the social status and recognition.  After getting burned over a decade ago on HD-DVD players, I’m going to sit the VR experience out until there are considerably cheaper options on the market. Ultimately, with such a severe price, the Oculus Rift threatens to do what its predecessors did before it, become a cautionary tale. I mean, who doesn’t remember the Virtual Boy? I didn’t get a smart phone until a few years after they became a thing. As a Circuit City employee I could have had one cheap, but the tech was just too unreliable. I just can’t bring myself to splurge on a $600 device that possible won’t even keep up with the life-cycle of my current home consoles or my PC.

I’m not saying that VR won’t be successful, because it has incredible potential from my own personal use with it. I’m saying that the first company to sell their set at a reasonable price will be the one that will usher in a new era of gaming.

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