Edge Magazine reports that Oculus VR is hoping that the Oculus Rift headset will offered free at the point of purchase if the company finds the correct business model. Oculus VR CEO Brandan Iribe revealed this interesting tidbit of news during the Develop In Brighton 2013 event last week as the team was showcasing a new Oculus Rift HD prototype.
“The lower the price point, the wider the audience,” Iribe told the magazine. “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."
One of those strategies could be a subsidized structure where customers would pay a small fee up front and make payments on the device over the course of one or two years. That would help offset the total cost for customers who can't afford $300 up front. It would also mean a wider audience for Oculus VR and the developers supporting the Rift specs.
"You can imagine if Microsoft and Sony can go out and subsidize 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 subsidized," he said. "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."
Right now the Oculus Rift is only available as a $300 dev kit, and so far it's unclear how the VR headset will be offered to consumers when it launches next year. That means the team still has plenty of time to toss around ideas on how to get Rift into the hands of as many gamers as possible.
"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," he said.
Free is good, but the $300 price tag is worth every penny in my book.