January 07

The Future Of Gaming Doesn’t Come Cheap!

This year we step into a new era for video games with the launch of VR headsets. Today we found out how much this new technology will cost us…

Oculus has announced that the first consumer version of their Oculus Rift VR headset will be priced at $599 (£410)! The Oculus Rift base package, which comes with the headset, sensor, remote, all necessary cables, an Xbox One controller and copies of EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale, is available to pre-order now and will start shipping on March 28th. As you can probably imagine, the internet was not happy with this “high” price point. Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus Rift, took to Twitter in order to defend the price point.

Luckey also stated that the headset is “obscenely cheap in the same way a $599 120″ 4K OLED TV would be obscenely cheap…” It is not unusual for a company to sell their hardware at a loss in the early stages, and there is no doubt that this technology is expensive. However I have two main problems with this pricing:

Firstly, $600 is not the only money you need to spend in order to experience VR. The Oculus Rift needs a pretty power computer to operate, with the company recommending a NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics card, Intel i5-4590 processor, 8GB of RAM, and four USB ports (three of which should be USB 3.0). After doing a quick spec up over on PCSpecialist, it appears that a PC of this spec would run approx £700 and that was only with two USB 3.0 ports! You are therefore talking in excess of £1,000 to experience VR.

My other issue, although this is more a business observation, is that Oculus is owned by Facebook. The social-network company has billions to burn, and if they wanted to eat losses on the hardware even further they definitely could afford to do it. I know that this isn’t how business works — companies exist to make profit, not losses — but I feel they have to look at it from a long term perspective. The hardware isn’t going to be where you make all your money, it will be with software and accessory sales in the future, however to do that you have to get units out to your consumers! As it stands I just think that this price point will put off a lot of people, at least in the first year… I’m sure the price will come down in the future. I just hope that PlayStation VR is going to be cheaper, it just can’t be more expensive than the PS4 itself!

OK that was a lot of VR talk for one day so let’s focus on a couple of video games to close out the day. Earlier this week Microsoft teased us with a list of Xbox games coming in 2016. In probably the least surprising announcement of year (I know that isn’t saying much) ReCore will not be coming out this Spring. Keiji Inafune’s upcoming adventure game can now be expected to come to Xbox One and PC in “the latter half of 2016.” When I first saw the headline I was feared for a 2017 delay but six months is perfectly fine. We haven’t even seen any gameplay yet so no way was it coming out in the next couple of months anyway. I’m very excited to see more of this game, all we have seen so far is a young female protagonist travelling across a desert with her glowing blue orb that possess some robots.

If you wanted a video game this Spring and decided that the likes Uncharted 4, Quantum Break, Far Cry Primal, The Division, Ratchet & Clank and Hitman were not enough, you maybe able to add another to the list! 2K‘s latest entry in the Mafia franchise may be releasing as soon as April. As you can see from the image below, which was sent in to IGN, Best Buy is currently advertising Mafia III with a release date of April 26th — the same U.S. release date as Uncharted 4. It would appear that this date also matches up with listing on Amazon so there is definitely some merit to it. 2K has yet to give an official date but I would be pleasantly surprised if the game was coming this early — I assumed it would be late summer. That said, would it be a mistake to release the same day as Uncharted 4?! Hopefully we will find out soon enough.

Matt