With the price of the Oculus Rift headset coming in above the expectation of many, eyes turn to competitor HTC, whose Vive system has yet to be priced. The company isn’t ready to commit to a firm price for the headset but compared the purchase to an investment by the customer.
When asked for a comment on today’s reveal of the Oculus Rift price of $600, Ryan Hoopingarner, director of VR product marketing at HTC, seemed to sympathize with the company by comparing the purchase to an investment.
“We realize that the initial purchase of a VR system is definitely an investment,” said Hoopingarner. “We feel like [customers will] be happy with the investment they’ve made in the Vive.”
Although the company hasn’t set a firm price for the Vive, HTC has alluded that it will be positioned as a premium platform among VR systems. With the Oculus Rift priced at $600, and still requiring the purchase of the Touch controllers (which we expect in the $100-$200 range) to match the input capabilities of the Vive, it would seem that a Vive price anywhere under $1,000 could keep it competitive.
Oculus however, insists that the company isn’t making any money on the Rift and—with the backing of Facebook—the headset has been heavily subsidized in order to drive adoption. HTC on the other hand is a hardware company which likely needs to see a healthy return on the Vive, especially with the company’s struggling finances as of late. Given the component similarities between the two systems (a headset, two trackers, and two controllers), we’ll get a major clue as to the extent of the Rift’s subsidy once the Vive gets an official price.
The Vive Pre, which was revealed at CES 2016 this week, is the second Vive development kit. The company says they’ll make 7,000 Vive Pre units available to developers preceding the consumer launch of the Vive which will come in April, with pre-orders for the consumer headset opening in February.