Virtual Reality isn’t cheap. Those headsets have a ton of technology poured into them and they won’t be easy to manufacture. We are expecting some pretty hefty price tags for these new devices – that’s if they even make it to local retail. Valve has its own headset coming and it will be even more expensive.
Speaking to MCV, HTC marketing boss Jeff Gattis explained that VR isn’t just about changing how people play games, but also how they interact with computers in general. Of course, it will require a specific kind of retail environment – most people will have a strong “try before you buy” mentality which is best suited to physical retail. Still, as curious as people are about the technology, the price point may be an issue.
We want to deliver the most premium VR experience the world has seen. That’s not marketing speak, but more about where Vive is positioned in the market. This is at the high end.
Starting with the premium experience, even if it has a slightly higher price point, is the right thing to do from a strategic point of view. The price can always come down as the market grows. We know there is some pent up demand there, so there’s not so much price sensitivity early on. But to get the broader consumer adoption we’re all hoping for, the industry will have to drive price down to make it more accessible.
So they are aiming to be the premium VR offering. I wonder where Oculus (if/when it eventually gets a commercial release) and Morpheus will fall on the scale. Geoff and Darryn have both raved about their experiences with Morpheus and I hope to give it a whirl at E3 this year. I might even film the experience so you can all see if I turn green. I’m not ruling out VR as a cool technology, but I’m just not sure that it’s going to be as big a part of “the future” as companies are imagining. Unless it comes in with something truly worthwhile to offer, at a price point that’s affordable, I just can’t see it capturing the market on a wide scale.
Last Updated: March 20, 2015