I can’t really say crappy computers are to be blame for slow virtual reality adoption, because there’s not really anything to adopt at the moment, but they will be to blame. At least, that’s what Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey claimed in a recent Reddit AMA, saying that crappy computers are “the biggest barrier to adoption,” something that most people agree with. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that can be done at the moment to change that fact, but Luckey also said that his company is “working with all the major hardware vendors to optimize for VR,” and make virtual reality more accessible to average consumers, rather than being limited to developers and enthusiasts with money to spare.
Some people got a bit of a shock last week when Oculus announced that the Rift headset would cost $599 at launch. Considering the powerful hardware that you’ll need to run games at an acceptable frame rate and resolution for virtual reality, the entire cost for a VR-capable rig with an Oculus headset is easily north of $1,500. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey doesn’t believe that the price of the Rift itself is the most significant barrier to high-end VR gaming. Instead, in a Reddit AMA Luckey stated that “your crappy PC is the biggest barrier to adoption”, and that will only change as more and more consumers start purchasing high-performance hardware. Luckey hopes that in the future, a “normal” PC will be good enough to run VR games, which would then enable “the majority of people will be able to buy a relatively cheap headset and just use whatever computer they already own to drive it.” The best way to achieve this is to increase demand for high-end hardware, which will cause prices to drop and the rate of innovation to increase. In the meantime, Oculus is working with hardware partners such as AMD and Nvidia to get the most out of current hardware in a virtual reality setting. Both GPU companies have already established VR initiatives – AMD with LiquidVR, and Nvidia with Gameworks VR – that will help achieve the best VR experience so long as you have powerful enough components.