VR vs. My Bank Account

    There was no escaping at least a few cries on Twitter this week regarding the pricing of the HTC Vive, and if you don’t know what happened – the price of the head-mounted display (HMD) crept up from £689 GBP + P&P to £759 + P&P from 1st August. Sorry guys, but this is going to be an inevitably political one.

    Who would have thought it? Apparently we had been getting a pretty good deal up until now, so really you should consider yourself lucky that you had the chance to hand just over £700 including P&P for a Vive. I would absolutely love to go through conspiracy theories, but really you should be thanking the government and the 58% who wanted to leave the EU as this was the reason for the drop in the pound – HTC even stated so in its blog: “Due to recent currency valuation changes and the current value of the GBP we are adjusting the price of the HTC Vive in the UK”. It is unfortunately as simple as that.

    Let’s stop rolling our eyes and tutting for one moment, and have a look at the numbers. If we consider the past economic trends (stick with me here) and look at GBP to USD exchange rate on the 23rd – the day of the EU referendum – the economy’s hopes were at its highest for quite a while at a 1.48. But, we soon as we look at the next day when the results were announced, it dropped down to 1.36, and continued to fall to its lowest at the beginning of July to 1.29. So, really, if you do seriously think about it, we have technically been getting a good deal while we didn’t see the consequences of the economic changes. But now we have to face up to the facts. Phew, and now that’s enough numbers for one day.

    So, if HTC can do this pretty with the Vive, then… Hang on a minute. Is this going to happen with other manufacturers? Please don’t tell me that Oculus… Oh, they have. Oculus have made the UK price disappear magically for both the Rift and Gear VR, leaving the UK pricing pretty ambiguous right now. But this is more of a smart move than what HTC have done, letting the price pretty much explain itself for now while there is a lot of uncertainty in the air.

    But let’s be real – this will cause only slight grumbles across the VR community, but it isn’t down to HTC or Oculus, and people of the UK will be experiencing this everywhere. This isn’t a new turn of events though, as it has been something that was alluded to from the day the EU referendum happened. I once before asked if Brexit meant VRexit, and maybe – perhaps not out of choice – this might be the case. For many in the UK who are on the VR scene, it may seem like it is hurdle after hurdle. However, there might be light at the end of the tunnel, as the prices are quite obviously not set in stone.