Oculus founder Palmer Luckey took to reddit to justify the hefty $599 price tag of the Rift.
Yesterday, pre-orders for the Oculus Rift opened and finally revealed to us how much the consumer edition of the VR headset would cost: $599. The large price came as a shock to many, as founder Palmer Luckey had recently claimed the device would be "in the ballpark of" $350. Luckey recently took to reddit to try and justify the high cost to his fans, explaining that even at $600, Oculus isn't actually making any money on the Rift.
"To be perfectly clear, we don't make money on the Rift," wrote Luckey. "The Xbox controller costs us almost nothing to bundle, and people can easily resell it for profit. A lot of people wish we would sell a bundle without 'useless extras' like high-end audio, a carrying case, the bundled games, etc, but those just don't significantly impact the cost."
As for what does significantly impact the device's cost, Luckey explained that "The core technology in the Rift is the main driver - two built-for-VR OLED displays with very high refresh rate and pixel density, a very precise tracking system, mechanical adjustment systems that must be lightweight, durable, and precise, and cutting-edge optics that are more complex to manufacture than many high end DSLR lenses. It is expensive, but for the $599 you spend, you get a lot more than spending $599 on pretty much any other consumer electronics devices."
The rest of Luckey's AMA talks about his plans for the future of the Rift, but unfortunately doesn't mention a price drop any time in the near future. This makes me worry that the Rift will just become another expensive tech gimmick that not enough developers will take advantage of to justify the price (oh hi there, PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect!)