The Rift DK2 Wouldn't Have Been Good Enough To Kickstart VR, Oculus CEO Says

Palmer Luckey has had a busy day on social media. The Oculus CEO started prepping the ground for the aftermath of opening the Rift up to pre-orders yesterday, and he's spent the majority of today fielding queries left, right and centre.

Most of the popular questions are about cost. Luckey's talked about that several times already, but what's slightly more interesting is the follow-up: if you knew the consumer Rift was going to be this expensive, why not release the Rift DK2 to the public?

According to Luckey, who's been busy answering questions on Reddit in an Ask me Anything session, the second revision of the Rift development kit simply wasn't good enough to be the catalyst that virtual reality needed.

"We could have shipped something along the lines of DK2, but I really don't think it would have been good enough to kickstart the consumer VR industry," he said.

"It would also cost more than people think - Shipping a real consumer product is more complex than janking out a dev kit, even something nearly identical to DK2 would have ended up costing US$400+, and the all-in investment including a PC would still be around US$1300, not enough to make the jump from enthusiast to mainstream."

Luckey also indicated that Oculus's expected to be selling the consumer version of the Rift for "close to [US$599]" back in September. "In a September interview, during the Oculus Connect developer conference, I made the infamous 'roughly in that US$350 ballpark, but it will cost more than that' quote," the CEO explained.

"As an explanation, not an excuse: during that time, many outlets were repeating the “Rift is US$1500!” line, and I was frustrated by how many people thought that was the price of the headset itself. My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting US$349 with US$1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 - that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark."

Luckey went on to apologise for the poor messaging around the Rift, particularly for those who were left with expectations that the consumer version of the Rift would cost similar to the less advanced DK2 model. He also refused not to provide an estimate for how much the Touch controllers, given recent lessons.

Other noteworthy tidbits include that the PC specifications will remain unchanged for the first generation of the Rift, potentially meaning that the next-gen release of the tech could require just as hefty an upgrade as some users were preparing for already. Oculus will also continue working with component manufacturers to optimise technology for VR to "reduce the required hardware cost".

"For the average person, the PC is by far the biggest cost ... the end goal is to make sure people can use the PC they already have in most cases," Luckey noted.


    R.I.P Rift. I wasn't that interested to start with, for $1000+ I now have zero intention of buying one.

      Agreed, I am really hoping the Valve/HTC option is has realistic pricing.

    Hes right, the DK2 just isn't enough, but it was easily half the cost of the new CV1 while being 85-90% of the experience the CV1 will offer.

    Looking hopefully towards the Vive now, perhaps we will be luckier there in terms of cost, as with HTC being a Taiwanese company, they may sell to us in AUD rather than from USD which hits us harder with the exchange rate. it should also be a more complete solution.

      Not expecting anything different from the Vive except they might offer a more reasonable postage costs, good chance it'll be pricier as they are packing more into it. It will be interesting to see what these will eventually cost in brick and mortar stores but this is looking more and more like it's for enthusiasts only. I don't know how many of the devs will be creating content if there isn't the uptake or whether existing franchises will ever incorporate the tech. It might be that Sony will have better luck in creating a userbase but I can't see them getting the best out of the technology so it could end up gimmicky without a killer app.

    I wasn't in the market for one (not having a capable PC) but I'm hoping that the Playstation VR will be substantially lower-priced. I'm hoping around AU$500 or so. If it's more than AU$600 I'll wait on a price drop. Sony have jumped feet-first into gimmicky stuff many times (3D, Move, Wonderbook) so unless it takes off I'll be looking at an expensive paperweight. Better to await consumer verdict rather than be an early adopter.

      I hope Sony packages it correctly. Just the essentials and maybe one great game.

      IMO they shouldn't pack in Move or the Camera, because those things are already out in the wild.
      They go for real cheap preowned at EB. Plus, some people already own that stuff and it makes no sense to package them in.

      Last edited 07/01/16 9:46 pm

    I've said this over on the other Oculus Rift page but it is getting a bit lost in among all the other comments.

    So I've found a solution to cut the cost for us Australians here: +

    That's an American address I've entered into it. Even if the weight is 3KG, you're still getting the whole thing delivered for $944.81 AUD. That's a saving of about $155.19

    I still won't be able to afford one even using this method unfortunately, but it should help out a few of you.

      Hopefully it works. Apparently Oculus cancelled orders for known package forwarding addresses with the devkits.

        I've used a us forwarding address to Australia before. (bought car parts) they work and give you a tracking number however it did add a week to the total shipping time compared to buying direct from the US. also you might get shipping cheaper as well because 130usd seems high to me. last time I ordered a 3kg package it was coming from pompano beach florida it was around 80usd with FedEx to the east coast of Australia. Shopmate wasn't around when I did it but looks like a good option. The one I used was myus.

    " I was contrasting US$349 with US$1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 – that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark."

    Let's call a spade a spade, Palmer. Yes, $350 is less than $1500, but it is not in the same ballpark as $600.

      Well, kind of. $1500 is the cost of a brand new PC, while 599 was the cost of a brand new PS3. And $350 is console price too.

    What Oculus needs right now is hella good marketing and thriving competition. I'll remain safely sceptical from my armchair, but all points say it will come.

    Remember when the iPhone was first announced? I don't know anybody that wasn't a fan-boy who wanted a phone that:
    - had a huge screen for what purpose?
    - had no physical keyboard or specific buttons (you want me to rub my fingers all over the screen?)
    - a tiny amount of storage space and no sd-card slot, giving it less music listening ability than current day iPods.
    - You could download 'Apps' specifically made for phones (what's that?) when current internet speeds made even something like Steam slow to launch.
    - cost a ton for a phone.

    But thanks to Apples efforts at marketing these features as the definite 'new way' to connect with your phones and the continual efforts of their competition to resolve those issue and expand on those concepts until they all achieve success in selling us the current variety of smartphone products.

    So for now I'd say Oculus can't trailblaze just yet. Not until they truly convince us that VR will be the way to go and have to actually tussle with the looming competition.

    My main concern with VR is the screendoor effect, I'm the type of person who will notice that sort of thing all too well and it would make spotting planes or objects in the distance a pain (Warthunder planes are nothing but a dot at distance).

    Will wait for the 10 other VR helmet co's to release a product and see which one has the least screendoor effect possible.

      Bad news, all of the current contenders have pretty much the same screen-door effect, it will be a generation or two before that is gone.

    I watched the reddit, but think he still has missed the point, the very point he made himself when kicking the whole thing off If something’s even $600, it doesn’t matter how good it, how great an experience it is if they just can’t afford it, then it really might as well not exist. Palmer Luckey 2013

    He was right then, and it is still right now. No point launching a better product if it costs too much to buy.

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