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Palmer Luckey Responds to Queries About High Oculus Price

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Palmer Luckey, creator of the Oculus Rift, shared his thoughts and responded to confusion over the VR machine’s final price during a Reddit AMA yesterday.

“I handled the messaging poorly,” Luckey wrote. “In a September interview, during the Oculus Connect developer conference, I made the infamous “roughly in that $350 ballpark, but it will cost more than that” quote.”

Because the Developer Kit 2 model of the Oculus Rift cost $350, the popular assumption was that the final model’s price would be in the same range. Yesterday when the Oculus Rift became available for pre-sale, the final price of $599 was revealed.

“There are a lot of reasons we did not do a better job of prepping people who already have high end GPUs, legal, financial, competitive, and otherwise, but to be perfectly honest, our biggest failing was assuming we had been clear enough about setting expectations,” Luckey explained. “Another problem is that people looked at the much less advanced technology in DK2 for $350 and assumed the consumer Rift would cost a similar amount, an assumption that myself (and Oculus) did not do a good job of fixing. I apologize.”

In an interview with Ben Kuchera of Polygon yesterday, Luckey told Kuchera that the final model of the Oculus Rift is the result of a decision “to optimize quality over cost.”

Despite the $599 price tag, it seems like Oculus is just aiming to break even.

“To be perfectly clear, we don’t make money on the Rift,” Luckey wrote on Reddit. “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.”

Bundled items like the Xbox One controller, and bundled games like Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie, reportedly don’t add significantly to the final price of the headset.

“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,” Luckey explained.

The real price of the Oculus Rift will likely come in the high-end computer that will be necessary to play games on it, but Luckey says that in the long term, VR is not about playing video games.

“The majority of time spent right in Gear VR is video and experiences, not games,” he continued. “Over time, VR span beyond games, much like the evolution of computer and mobile platforms before it.”

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Only a Quarter of Americans Have Heard of Oculus Rift

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How up to date are you on VR technology? A new survey from Frank N. Magid Associates tells us that while most consumers are interested in virtual reality, 51% of them aren’t familiar with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, or other specific technologies. That left 25% that were “aware of any single product,” according to a graph put out by the firm. Read More

Lucky's Tale

Oculus Rift Will Come Bundled with Lucky’s Tale

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This morning, Oculus announced that Playful Corp’s VR game Lucky’s Tale will come bundled for free with every Oculus Rift.

Lucky’s Tale looks familiar when you watch a trailer on a 2D screen, but it’s pretty different from most VR games currently in development. Notably, it’s one of the only kid-friendly games announced for Oculus so far. It’s also not first-person. You float along behind the titular Lucky as a third-person presence, guiding and protecting him across platforms and past adorable bad guys. This is fairly unusual for VR.

Pixelkin’s Courtney Holmes got the chance to play Lucky’s Tale a few months ago with the game’s director Dan Hurd, and she enjoyed it even more than she’d anticipated. She notes that VR and third-person adventure games mesh well, despite reservations.