It’s trite, but it’s true: Competition is great for consumers, and we’re seeing a blistering price war in the VR world that’s driving down prices rapidly. Oculus’ announcement at Oculus Connect 4 is the latest salvo in that war: the Rift bundle--which includes the headset, sensors, six free apps, and Touch controllers--is now, permanently, just $399.
Oculus set that price during its “Summer of Rift” promotion, but that was temporary. The obvious win here is over the HTC Vive, which still costs $500 for its full bundle, but the real competition is coming from Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality.
The WMR headsets range in price from $350-500 (with the accompanying motion controllers, the range shrinks to $400-600). Thus, the Oculus Rift’s new price matches the least expensive desktop VR bundle competitor out there.
We can say with confidence that although Microsoft appears to believe in its mixed reality efforts, losing the price advantage--and just before its launch on October 17--was a blow. That was supposed to be one of the key selling points, which Oculus wisely negated.
To recap: The whole of the high-end VR bundle market is now squished to a $200 range, from $400-600. For consumers, the cost reductions obviously save them money, and the price parity means that people can focus more on the pros and cons of the various VR platforms than on price tiers.
Update, 10/12/17, 8:57am PT: Fixed typos.