Preorders for Valve and HTC’s Vive came out yesterday, and the news for proponents of VR was not good: The Vive with controllers and sensors will set you back $799. Plus you will need a $300 video card. I have a mid-range gaming machine, so for giggles I ran the Steam VR Test Tool, and it said I could run the Vive, but all my settings would have to be on low. However, at least Vive comes with the motion controllers, those will be extra with Facebook’s Oculus Rift. For now it just comes with an Xbox One controller. Though the Rift will ‘only’ set you back $599, but with the Rift not only will you need that $300 video card, but three dedicated USB3 ports, so I would have to buy an extra card making my total around $950 (still not including their controllers which I am sure will not be cheap).
I am sorry, but if a consumer needs to spend around $1000 to properly use your product, it is DOA. Especially considering I am a least starting with a decent gaming desktop, so for most people the price of entry may be as high as $2000. That is bonkers. People rightly mocked Microsoft for launching the Xbox One for $500, so double to quadruple that price is almost insane.
VR as I see it has one hope left, Sony’s Project Morpheus.
Why Morpheus you may ask? Because a lot of people already own the PS4, so they will not need to beef up their machine. The initial hardware cost is built in. If Sony can launch Morpheus under $500 they may have a hit on their hands. $500 is still a lot, but it is well within the price range of first adopters, and it is a price that the average consumer can save up for. Not to mention the best part, I am sure it will be much easier to setup and configure than either Rift or Vive.
I am not sure VR is something I want, but I know I that I don’t want it for $1000 or more. If Sony can launch Morpheus at a reasonable price it might be something to consider. Especially considering the initial hardware cost is whatever deal you can find on a PS4, and there are some good ones out there. Plus I am sure Sony will have a Morpheus bundle that shaves a few bucks of the base price of the console. If VR has any shot at mainstream appeal Morpheus might be its only hope.