Feb 26, 2016

How much are you willing to pay for VR?

I’m fairly excited about VR, but I’m also concerned that it will be like 3D TVs and Movies - a period of “that’s neat” followed by a longer period of “meh.” Still, I have high hopes. The prices that have been announced so far make me wonder whether there are enough people willing to shell out $600 for the Oculus Rift (plus a high end PC) or $800 for the HTC Vive. Sony hasn’t yet announced the price of the Playstation VR, which is my last hope for a somewhat affordable VR headset. The prices could pose a serious problem: If not enough people jump on board, there won’t be much software developed, and if there isn’t much software, there isn’t a compelling reason to buy the hardware. What is the price point that average consumers will by willing to pay for VR?
I'm generally something of an early adopter. I haven't had a phone line or cable in over a decade, my floors have been vacuumed by a robot for years, and I often pay a premium for the newest Nexus devices. That said, there is no way I'd spend $800 for 1st gen VR. $600 isn't as unreasonable for a cutting edge product, but it's still more than I'm willing to pay.

As you point out, without the software, the hardware is useless. I have high hopes that there will be amazing software, but most of what I've seen looks more like a tech demo than useful or truly entertaining products.

I'm waiting to hear what Sony will bring to the VR table. They have talented in-house development teams, and they have a long history of designing and building quality consumer and professional electronics. With this background, and the PS4 to do much of the processing work, I'm hopeful that the Playstation VR will launch around the $300-400 range. At that price point, I'd be willing to jump on board and see where VR goes. This could be the beginning of a truly transformational technology...or it could be like the 3D TVs that you referenced. I'm not willing to place too large of a bet on it being transformation just yet, so $300-400 is as much as I would pay at this point.
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