Oculus Rift May Force Game Prices Higher

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Oculus Rift May Force Game Prices Higher

oculus rift at CES

Oculus Rift executives say the heady experience of virtual reality may command higher prices than conventional games.

Those who have had the good fortune to play with Oculus Rift VR headsets seem awfully impressed by what can be done with it, and numerous videos floating around on YouTube attest to its immersive qualities. But there may be a downside for gamers in the form of higher prices for high-end VR experiences.

"There will be some who make casual, simpler experiences - maybe bite sized. There are going to be Indie developers that make bigger experiences. And there are going to be bigger teams that make really big experiences," Oculus CEO Brendane Iribe told GamesIndustry. "And some that we've seen early prototypes of... Well, we've seen some that, boy, would I pay a lot to get that experience in virtual reality."

"In VR, suddenly objects have value - and scale and size and depth and I think there will be opportunities for developers to monetize them," added Director of Developer Relations Aaron Davies.

Pricing will be up to developers but Iribe noted that "they'd better deliver if they're going to charge more than $50 or $60 for a game." Davies, however, said that instead of just jacking up prices, some studios may take a different approach, perhaps akin to the free-to-play model.

"The whole concept of charging a premium is somewhat outdated," he said. "It's not to say it's going to be upfront. It could be this is going to be an experience you get dialed into. We'll see how it monetizes. ... If you create content or an experience that someone is passionate about, you're creating a lifestyle for them. And they'll pay for that."

Source: GamesIndustry International

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And now I can see companies hiking up prices by doing a slap-dash Oculus Rift support feature, and then they'll blame it on the Rift entirely for it, making it a good excuse to place the blame on.
You know, like how fast food restaurants raised prices of food and blamed Obamacare for it, even though Obamacare was both not fully implemented nor had even started yet. :P

So how much did it cost to port TF2 to Oculus Rift?

Now divide that cost by the 1 - 5 million games you need to sell to earn a profit.
THATS how much more the game should cost.

I know companies want to run at a profit, so they might want to increase the value slightly higher for profits' sake, but consider that Valve released this support for absolutely free and even included extra view types and stuff (the guy at the beginning of the video admits they are there but says he prefers the vanilla view)

Valve was able to swallow up the porting process with no expense passed on to the consumer, so if a game tells you it needs to increase the price by 1 dollar solely for Oculus Rift, and they are expecting 3-5 million sales, that'll be 3-5 million dollars extra profit for them.

If they increase it by 5 dollars, that'll be 15 - 25 million dollars extra profit.

If it's 15 dollars that'll be 45 - 75 million dollars extra profit.

For a game expected to sell 3 - 5 million copies, for work which Valve managed to complete for free.
I await with bated breath the first announcement of "We have to increase prices by 'X' to cover this new complex technology."

Oh VR, how I hated you back on Descent 2, made me twist my head almsot clean off :( I hope you have become better, and lighter and more comfortable...

Yes, because is there is one problem this industry has its that games are just to darn cheep. 60 dollars is a such a steal, thank God the good companies put micro transactions in the game so I can pay more and make up the difference.

Heh. Here's a guy trying to convince money men to invest in working with his product by telling them they can charge more. Great.

Followed immediately by, "Higher Game Prices Result in Lost Sales."

Since most of the games suited for VR are already programmed in 3D, it's just a matter of customers having the hardware necessary to stream the dual-POV. Therefore, rational for yet again jacking up game prices is unfounded.

New Technology? More expensive than old technology?

Colour me surprised.

Now it's time for my boring pseudo-rant segment!

Sitting here in my grumpy old man chair:

"I still think this won't be all that, this will just be an added luxury that regular game devs will not make proper use of, just like with motion controls, and just like those controls, they will slowly slide into obscurity"

Once we start entering the world of VR, we should stop talking about games and more about virtual experiences, because if the Oculus Rift does take off, then games will take a step back as a new medium and VR will be the new kid everyone ostracises.

As for gaming, I doubt it will be more than a novelty: using a controller to play the game still breaks the illusion of VR, not to mention scripted events, visual glitches and unique aesthetics.

But we have a long way to go with that yet (omni-mills/VR arenas, enhanced motion sensing and new controls).

Has anyone done any real studies about how people feel after using the Oculus for, say, a three hour stretch? "Ooh, cool" VR games are one thing, but if you're talking about some $60+ AAA experience, you're also presumably taking about at least six to eight hours of playtime, possibly much more. "Ooh, cool" can become unnerving and/or nauseating after more than an hour of play, especially if they indulge in the kind of slap-dash quick 3D conversions some people here have suggested. Zooming along at thirty miles an hour a couple of feet off the ground becomes a lot more unsettling in full VR 3D, methinks.

MinionJoe:
Followed immediately by, "Higher Game Prices Result in Lost Sales."

Since most of the games suited for VR are already programmed in 3D, it's just a matter of customers having the hardware necessary to stream the dual-POV. Therefore, rational for yet again jacking up game prices is unfounded.

and then.

"PIRATES! PIRATES EVERYWHERE!"

thanks to pirates the game industry has chrashed!

many major publishers and developers agreed on keeping themselves above water by offering monthly downloadable content for their most famous franchises including a reboot of "shooty shooty awesome robot man".
the first pack of DLC will feature realistic robotic fluctuating skins for shooty shooty awesome robot man and an extra sidekick animal that gives you tips whenever it registers that you have problems with the game.

What is the device supposed to cost? Because higher prices on games to justify a costly peripheral... I just don't see it catching on.

TheKasp:
What is the device supposed to cost? Because higher prices on games to justify a costly peripheral... I just don't see it catching on.

The Devkit was $300 and they are aiming for the same ballpark.

Below $500, I can definitely see it catching on as a gaming peripheral, but higher than that would be too much for gamers, so that would cost them a few million sales, if it would only catch on everywhere else in entertainment, science, and communication.

Really, what is the cost to develop or convert a game to the Rift system? Many 3D movies have been shot mostly or entirely in 2D and post converted to 3D by the special effects team probably don't cost near as much as what studio execs say. Even those shot in 3D or CGI films rendered in 3D probably make quite a the profit off their stupid surcharge if they stay at the theaters for more than a week. I my opinion neither method is worth the extra $3.50 or the eye ache from your eyes forcing themselves to adjust to an unnatural focal point.

Hopefully, most publishers don't see Rift capable games the same way movie execs see 3D: a near baseless excuse to raise the price of a unit by 25%. It might actually be a new, better experience that would be worth paying $5 extra on a title, but it's extra hardware for the user to buy and a new tech that needs to be proven to the world. Oculus can't afford to let publishers put up a giant pay wall that stops people from trying the Rift out. And they shouldn't jack up prices if it becomes popular. I watched the 3D surcharge go up on movies as they got more popular and I was simultaneously happy and sickened that some people turn down paying extra for eyebleed-o-vision and some just give out they money without even asking if it's worth it. If someone invested in certain hardware, psychologically, they would be inclined to pay more on title that used the hardware to justify the purchase of said hardware. I know some of the greedier bastards on the publisher boards know this and are waiting to strike.

image

So the jist of it is the Director of Developer Relations is trying too sell off the idea of VR developing to devs by telling them they should charge more money for already over priced games?

Last time I checked, one of the big reasons 3D flopped so hard was having to wear stupid headwear to use, what makes this thing so amazing to compensate for the whole stupid headwear snag?

So, avoid games with Occulus Rift Support then? Gotcha. I'm susceptible to migraines as it is. 3D movies and playing the 3Ds are already painful if I play or watch for more then 2 hours. Having screens less then 2 inches away from your eyes will probably bug the shit out of me.

No thank you. I think the Rift is a cool idea in and of itself, but it's not for me. And the higher game prices makes it even less appealing.

I don't get it. What exactly is the justification for higher prices? Once you have the Oculus Rift support coded into the game engine or library, there is practically zero extra cost for it involved. Everything else are neat gameplay ideas, just like they are being produced today.

Razhem:
Last time I checked, one of the big reasons 3D flopped so hard was having to wear stupid headwear to use, what makes this thing so amazing to compensate for the whole stupid headwear snag?

That was only one of the multitude of reasons that VR flopped so hard before. The other reasons were:
Extremely low-resolution LCD screens
Horrible refresh rate
Very small FOV
Headwear was way too bulky and heavy
Laggy head tracking
Primitive graphics
Low Framerate
Horrible controls (they hadn't really figured out control schemes for 3D games yet)

From what I've seen of the Oculus, and graphic and display technology in general, every one of those issues has been dealt with, so I'm pretty optimistic about it. I haven't had an opportunity to try out any of the dev versions yet, though.

News Flash: Games will continue to sell at the price the market is willing to pay. That's the whole reason that microtransactions and DLC exist in the first place: to fool people into paying more money than they normally would(with rare occasions of genuine value added in return).

TheKasp:
What is the device supposed to cost? Because higher prices on games to justify a costly peripheral... I just don't see it catching on.

This is my thought as well. If they want me to pay 300-400 for a gaming peripheral, I will be damned if I ALSO pay higher prices for the games for it as well. I dont expect to pay an extra 5 or 10 dollars for any other peripheral use in my games.

The way I see it is that if I'm going to presumably shell out the cost of a console for the VR add on to begin with, I do not expect to pay more for my games as well in order to use it. Yes I expect to pay for the games, but just standard rate. What's more if I decide I do not want to use the VR stuff, I should not be punished and forced to pay more money for the additional features.

*THAT* said I don't see it as being very likely that this will go anywhere, even if it might be a fad for a while, and for a lot of the same reasons 3D didn't make it as big as some people thought... and it's not the reasons you might think.

See, not everyone out there can handle 3D properly, a LOT of people are like me and get horrible headaches if they watch a movie in 3D. I typically have to pre-load with painkillers and then am usually not feeling 100% afterwards, so in general I tend to always choose the non-3D option when I can (despite thinking the technology is awesome... but it's not usually worth the headache). Apparently the number of people with these kinds of issues is like a quarter of the population. I've read articles about why this happens, having to do with the eye and brain's ability to process the 3D the way the movies do it, and whatever else.

The thing is that 3D, and I'm guessing this VR headset will have the same problem, cuts your potential market down by a substantial margin, your not just dealing with a tiny number of people. Unless they can find a way to ensure far more people can enjoy the technology and will thus not set out to avoid it, they are going to do better to work with less fancy technologies everyone can enjoy and which will lead to a broader market.

That said it would be nice if they stopped calling "fancy goggles" VR which they arguably are not. VR is Virtual Reality which is something that creates an experience so realistic that it might as well be real. Yes, a headset can make something more immersive on some levels, but it is not a VR experience. I suspect they started labeling it that way because it looks like the VR devices from some sci-fi concepts, but typically those devices involved a neutral interface, if not through a datajack in the head, through some kind of electronic stimulation of the brain (through the temples), also frequently being combined with a full body isolation suit, and suspension device to help minimize contradictory stimulation from things really happening to the body from interfering with the simulation.

As cool as the idea is, one of the reasons why I've argued we're never likely to see any kind of consumer VR gaming, as much as I'd like to, is that the lowest human denominator is not going to be able to handle technologies that mess with their own brain, whether that be something forming a neutral bridge electronically, or a "port" basically burrowed directly into their lobes via a socket of some sort (datajack implant). Take the biggest moron you know, and now envision what he's likely to do to himself with this technology... if that doesn't help, think of all the garbage we saw when the "Wii" first came out and all the accidents and misshaps, and that's just the everyman spazzing in their living room with a plastic wand/handle... now imagine your trusting them to plug things into their own brain safely (one way or another).

Games that don't keep up with the latest technology's and innovation will soon find themselves behind the curve of other games. I didn't pay more when games went to 3d. I didn't pay more when games went HD, I'm not paying more for VR.

Go pan for gold somewhere else game company's, your not welcome here. Support the tech or don't, stop crying that you need more money. It didn't work out for Canada, it won't end well for you.

Evolve or die, better gameplay, better graphics, better games. the new generation of gamers are getting smart to your laziness. its time to pile up the pizza boxes and go home, your not all going to get rich from a half days work and a full cup of hope and promise.

I'm dubious the whole VR thing will ever really become a thing, 3D anyone? But if they move it to the free to play garbage model I'm sure not going to buy in.

It seemed obvious that this would push production costs higher, and I'm not shocked they'd try and recoup money with higher prices.

Neronium:
And now I can see companies hiking up prices by doing a slap-dash Oculus Rift support feature, and then they'll blame it on the Rift entirely for it, making it a good excuse to place the blame on.
You know, like how fast food restaurants raised prices of food and blamed Obamacare for it, even though Obamacare was both not fully implemented nor had even started yet. :P

So what you're saying is increased game prices are due to Obama?

I hate the microtransactions approach companies are taking nowadays. It makes a lot of sense in a game like League of Legends, but when a AAA game company tries to push multiplayer with like 6 maps by promising to release 4 or 5 packs of 3 maps blatantly copypasted from the story campaign for $10 apiece, then you're basically paying $90 for what you paid $50 for 10 years ago.

Zachary Amaranth:

So what you're saying is increased game prices are due to Obama?

Of course, don't you know that Obama is the reason for everything. I mean, you're car breaks down, thanks Obama. You miss the jump in World 1-1, thanks Obama. Find a Shiny Pokemon but don't have any Pokeballs, thanks Obama.
Game prices increasing because of a VR peripheral, thanks Obama. XD

Zachary Amaranth:
It seemed obvious that this would push production costs higher, and I'm not shocked they'd try and recoup money with higher prices.

Neronium:
And now I can see companies hiking up prices by doing a slap-dash Oculus Rift support feature, and then they'll blame it on the Rift entirely for it, making it a good excuse to place the blame on.
You know, like how fast food restaurants raised prices of food and blamed Obamacare for it, even though Obamacare was both not fully implemented nor had even started yet. :P

So what you're saying is increased game prices are due to Obama?

Exactly. And where was he during this most recent polar vortex? In Washington. You know what else is in Washington? The reflecting pool. Do you know what reflects well on a country? Having close relationships with neighbors. Do you know who one of our neighbors is? Canada. DO you know where northern Canada is located? The Arctic Circle. Where did the polar vortex come from? Exactly. Obama is responsible for cold weather. So much for Global Warming.

Goddamnit, I fell for a Chalk headline again. Realized it just after I clicked...

Meh, whatever. They've said the same about every new tech. The market won't support even higher prices. The $60 model is already falling through for most titles.

The prices go up, my torrenting bandwidth goes up, i won't be paying extra for a gimmick i am not going to use, the prices are already ridiculously high as it is.

Yeah, if developers can sink millions into ads and famous voice-actors and think they can make up the difference by selling more games (even though they often fail), I'm calling bullshit on the statement that THIS extra pricetage must inevitably raise the price for consumers. Since when does development cost have any correlation with the price of the game? Everything gets sold for 60 bucks anyway...

Scars Unseen:
News Flash: Games will continue to sell at the price the market is willing to pay.

Yes, that's exactly what the article just said, with the added expectation that the market will be willing to pay more for VR experiences than mere video games, which seems rather likely given that so far the majority of people who have tried it described it as a life-changingly awesome experience.

Alterego-X:

The Devkit was $300 and they are aiming for the same ballpark.

Below $500, I can definitely see it catching on as a gaming peripheral, but higher than that would be too much for gamers, so that would cost them a few million sales, if it would only catch on everywhere else in entertainment, science, and communication.

Anything above 200€ for a thing to just 'enhance' my gaming experience seems way too expensive to predict a high enough adoption rate to justify higher purchase prices for games in general. It will be in that niche of very expensive gaming peripherals like those 200€ mouses. Pretty much just luxury.

I also don't see it catch on in entertainment outside of gaming due to the core design difference.

Hey look, another gimmick trying to pass itself of as the future of media, where have I seen that before?

Hey Australia, are you ready for games that cost $150?

I must be the only person NOT sold on the Oculus Rift (Maybe not checking the comments, though). And the concept of price was my primary concern. I can't see the thing being less expensive than a console. And that sort of expense can easily kill it. And the idea of games costing more, is another nail in the head.

Now, I'd love to be within a space fighter's cockpit, battling enemies and blasting obstacles. However, games are already expensive at $60 a pop. Increasing the cost to say $100 a game would effectively prohibitive. There's no way I could afford to purchase such expensive games. And Free to Play is not a concept I am willing to embrace. Especially since I figure such a thing would be like we got on Xbox One. Wouldn't that just be awesome?

Jewrean:
Hey Australia, are you ready for games that cost $150?

Are you kidding? This is Australia, we're talking about. Try $1500. And none of the "objectionable" content will be allowed without being censored.

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