The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is available for pre-order now for $600 and begins shipping on March 28 with two games, "EVE Valkyrie" and "Lucky's Tale."
That's a steep price tag for the headset, and you'll need to shell out even more cash for a computer powerful enough to run games and experiences on the Rift.
How much would such a computer cost?
If you were to buy or build your own computer for the Rift, expect to spend around $1,000.
But Oculus has an easier solution: the company is teaming with Asus, Dell, and Alienware (Dell's gaming hardware division) to make "Oculus-ready computers" with recommended specs that start at $1,499. You get the whole Rift package — the headset, an Xbox One gamepad, a camera for tracking the headset and an Oculus Remote — plus a computer that can run it, all for $1,499.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves: $600 for the headset is a ridiculous amount of money.
Tech Insider spoke with Nate Mitchell, co-founder and VP of product at Oculus, who agreed that "$600 is a higher price point than we [and the community] would love to be at."
"This is the dawn of an entirely new product category. The reality is that this first generation of VR is going to be more expensive." Mitchell said.
And that's true. Many first generations of a new product category start off being very expensive. 4K TVs started off selling for more than $5000 when they were first released. Now, you can pick up a decent 4K TV for under $1000.
The Oculus is expensive for the same reason that 4K TVs were super expensive at the beginning. "There's a lot of custom components, a lot of custom systems, a lot of innovation happening. And when you put that together into a first generation products, it's an expensive product." Indeed, custom components and tech often cost more to make than mass produced components.
Oculus VR founder, Palmer Luckey, took to Twitter to argue the price as well:
To reiterate, we are not making money on Rift hardware. High end VR is expensive, but Rift is obscenely cheap for what it is.— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 6, 2016
Mitchell was confident that the cost of VR will come down over time as it becomes more mainstream, and components become less expensive to manufacture — just like 4K TVs did.
Oculus also decided against making sacrifices by using cheaper, lesser-quality components and risk delivering a sub-par experience that doesn't live up to expectations. "All the people who have been waiting for VR for the last 60 years, now it's here, and we want to deliver on that magic, and we think the Rift as it stands is going to do that," Mitchell said.
I tried a few games at Oculus' CES booth, and I can safely say it lived up to expectations. It's not often I blurt out in laughter because something is so amazing, but there I was, blurting out.
The Oculus Rift starts shipping to buyers on March 28, and only works with PCs (sorry, Mac owners).