As the world now knows, PC-based virtual reality (VR) is an expensive proposition, at least for its first year. The Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), due out on 28th March 2016, costs $599 USD, while the HTC Vive that’s set to launch on 5th April, will set you back $799. Both HMDs will include free software for those prices, but what about the content that isn’t free? How should VR videogames be priced? According to Oculus Rift creator and Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, that’s something the industry is yet to figure out.
Luckey said as much in a recent interview with Venture Beat. “No, I don’t think anyone’s figured it out,” he said of VR software prices. “It’ll depend on how large the market is, what the attach rates look like. Prices are driven by what developers need to make to pay their bills and make their budgets back. But I don’t think anyone has a good handle on how VR will be priced yet. I mean, we know how we’re going to price the games we’re doing ourselves at Oculus Studios, but that’s not necessarily because we think we’ve figured out the perfect prices. All we can do is make our best guess.”
With HMDs so expensive, however, will developers have to charge more for their content in order to compensate for a smaller install base? As Luckey mentioned, Oculus VR itself is working with some studios such as Gunfire Games and Insomniac Games under its Oculus Studios banner, but many of these will have been funded by the company, taking away the risk for the development teams. Will other studios be forced to stick higher price points?
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