Oculus tried to remain as vague as possible whenever it discussed the Oculus Rift’s price, and we had no idea what the headset would actually cost until it became available to pre-order for $600 on Wednesday. This pissed a lot of people off, not because the headset is too expensive, although plenty of people are upset about that, but because Oculus founder Palmer Luckey claimed the Oculus Rift would be “in the ballpark of $359,” which it most certainly isn’t. It’s one thing to be vague, and it’s another to clearly mislead, and missing the actual price point by $240 is definitely the latter. That’s why Luckey apologized for his comment during a Reddit AMA on Thursday.
As of Wednesday, the cat is out of the bag: Virtual Reality headset Oculus Rift costs $599, and that’s excluding the cost of a pretty pricey PC needed to run the thing. While this is the first time the company officially revealed the device’s price, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey did on one previous occasion say that the Rift will cost “in the ballpark of $359,” which is OK if your definition of “ballpark” is in the ballpark of “whatever.” Now, in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session Thursday, Luckey apologized for his confusing comments. “I handled the messaging poorly,” Luckey wrote, explaining that he was annoyed about everyone clinging onto the $1,500 price estimate, which was for the Rift and a PC needed to run it, not Rift alone. On the infamous “ballpark” reference, Luckey claims that “…mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1,500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 – that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark.” According to Luckey, the company doesn’t make money on the Rift. He goes on to explain what makes the device so expensive (and far more pricey than the $350 “development kit 2” version of the Rift): “A lot of people wish we would sell a bundle without ‘useless extras’ like high-end audio, a carrying case, the bundled games, etc, but those just don’t significantly impact the cost. The core technology in the Rift is the main driver.”