The Oculus Rift, the Kickstarter smash hit virtual reality headset, could well be the most important gaming revolution of the year, next-gen consoles be damned. But rather than looking to milk the potential of the product for all its worth, Oculus Rift CEO Brendan Iribe wants to give it away for free. Eventually.
Speaking to Edge, Iribe said:
“The lower the price point, the wider the audience. We have all kinds of fantasy ideas. We’d love it to be free one day, so how do we get it as close to free as possible? Obviously it won’t be that in the beginning. We’re targeting the $300 price point right now but there’s the potential that it could get much less expensive with a few different relationships and strategies.
“You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidise consoles because there’s enough money to be made on software and other areas, then there’s the potential that this, in partnership, could get subsidised.”
One potential scenario Iribe envisions is the possibility for a massively popular VR game that includes a subscription plan, with the Oculus Rift hardware free with it in much the same way that some mobile phones come free on contracts.
“Let’s say there was some game you played in VR that everybody loved and everybody played and we made $100 a month – or even $10 a month – at some point the hardware’s cheap enough and we’re making enough that we could be giving away the headset.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re sitting there thinking all the time, how can we make this free? You want everybody to play it and the cheaper it is, the more people are going to go out and buy it. Today it’s a $300 dev kit but we’re thinking about how to get it out to as many people as possible.”
Though it’s great to see the Oculus Rift team looking at ways to make the headset as accessible as possible, I’m happy right now to just pay whatever it costs at retail. The sooner it hits stores the better – Skyrim with this thing would be ridiculous.