palmer luckey oculus rift price facebook
Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus VR

palmer luckey oculus rift price facebookPalmer Luckey has been open and communicative with the VR community since founding Oculus VR Inc. Tonight he spent time responding to questions and concerns regarding Facebook’s acquisition of the company. Among other bits of info, Luckey confirmed that the deal could significantly lower the price of the Oculus Rift.

Responding in Reddit’s Oculus section to the question, “How is this what’s best for VR technology?”, Luckey said that, “This deal specifically lets us greatly lower the price of the Rift.”

Oculus has stated previously that their target price for a consumer virtual reality headset would be around $300. With the Oculus Rift DK2 going on sale last week for $350, it can be assumed that Luckey’s comment applies to the forthcoming consumer version of the Oculus Rift. If the company could bring the cost down to $100 per headset, it would surely go a long way toward widespread adoption of VR.

Luckey has been battling negative reactions to the news that the company would be purchased by Facebook for $2 billion in cash and stocks. His comments, which have been generally well supported by the community, have received largely negative reactions following the news.

Among his responses to criticism has been some hinting at exciting forthcoming announcements:

We have not gotten into all the details yet, but a lot of the news is coming. The key points:

1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. More news soon.

2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects.

3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon.

Luckey is insistent that the deal was the right move for the long term future of VR and that Oculus now has more freedom than over to deliver on their vision:

I am sorry that you are disappointed. To be honest, if I were you, I would probably have a similar initial impression! There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public. A lot of people obviously feel the same way you do, so I definitely want to address your points:

The appeal of Oculus (as compared to Sony, for example) is because it is on a PC platform, and thus allows us, the developers, freedom over what we want to do with it.

None of that will change. Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.

The Rift is absolutely targeted towards the gaming population, which tends to be teenage to early 20s/30s, which is the exact population that Facebook is currently losing. By partnering with Facebook, you are gaining access to a massive userbase of people that the rift is not targeted towards, which people might feel is a very bad move.

Almost everyone at Oculus is a gamer, and virtual reality will certainly be led by the games industry, largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments. In the long run, though, there are going to be a lot of other industries that use VR in huge ways, ways that are not exclusive to gamers; the current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential. Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience. We are not targeting social media users, we are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.

What we fear is not that Oculus will be partnering with Facebook, but that you are selling out the company to Facebook and no longer retain control over Oculus. I can say that I, personally, support Oculus because I believed in the goals and visions that you had.

This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less! We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue. Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our own roadmap, not control what we do. I would never have done this deal if it meant changing our direction, and Facebook has a good track record of letting companies work independently post-acquisition.

There is a lot of related good news on the way. I am swamped right now, but I do plan on addressing everyone’s concerns. I think everyone will see why this is so incredible when the big picture is clear.

  • Alkapwn

    I originally had some skepticism about this deal thinking that Facebook may try and do their own thing with VR. After listening to the investors call and reading responses from Palmer and crew I have a new found excitement about this.

    Oculus can go forward with the plan that they’ve always had but with so much more backing and no compromises as a result. I think this brings them ever closer to their dream of ultimately making the Rift free and getting it into the hands of as many people as possible.

    Congrats to the Oculus team. Look forward to the future of VR.

  • ZarthCode

    I think this is a Good Thing™. There’s going to be a lot of anger and suspicion as to what Facebook’s motives may be, but I think that won’t matter for a few years, yet. When it comes to advertising and data collection, I’m sure that EVERYONE believes that AR is where it’s at. Google is already working on this with Glass. Oculus is popular, and probably won’t stop with the Rift as it’s only product. I expect to see some cool Oculus VR toys with eyetracking and even basic added-reality support.

    Then, someday, FB will get their very own Glass+. Smart move.

  • ElectroPulse

    Hey, that’s something I hadn’t thought of… They can get custom screens! That’s huge. Now they don’t have to try to find a screen that will work with the Rift, they can get a screen custom-made for it :D

  • Chris Given

    Here is another way to look at it… FB would be stupid to shift focus away from PC gaming as it’s primary purpose and here’s why… PC gaming has pushed the PC hardware market for years and it will do the same for VR… PC gamers expect nothing but the best and they expect better each time there is a new generation of hardware and software… By focusing on gaming they assure the best experience in all other non gaming uses of the rift, Communication, Education, Movies, Sporting Events, etc will all benefit. So that’s why I am excited about this news and can’t wait to see it grow!!

  • snake0

    Denial mode in full effect here lol

    You guys are crazy if you think Zuckerberg et al paid 2 bill to let Oculus just do whatever they want

    • Tim Suetens

      Finally, someone who makes sense. Facebook isn’t stupid, they WILL have demands after paying Luckey 2 billion…

  • Jeremy Tang

    The fact is, if Oculus wants to be a player in consumer electronics, $100M in funding ain’t going to cut it. Without a backer like Facebook, Oculus would forever be just a novelty item for high end pc gamers… a tiny market, insignificant compared to the smart phone market.

    Oculus has always maintained their vision is to change human interaction… and that VR is a game changer for mankind. So this is totally in line with their vision.

    For Facebook, with a market valuation north of $170 Billion, yes, indeed $2 Billion is a drop in the bucket. Consider the fact that the majority of the transaction was also done in shares (ie: some tiny percent of that overall valuation). So yeah, Mark can very well throw $2 billion at Oculus and let them do what ever they want.

    It may also seem like there’s a large opposition voice against this acquisition; but in reality, that voice, however loud they seem on the internet with their angry posts, represent but a tiny fraction of the potential market. For every complainer there are a million more people who haven’t even heard of Oculus until yesterday and will potentially purchase it if it goes mainstream.

    There were people claiming they won’t buy Oculus products any more. That’s fine… for those 100’s of people that are going to stick to their guns and stay on the sidelines, all the better for them. I for one will be enjoying the VR spectacle and can’t wait to see what gets produced with so much momentum and resources behind it.

    • snake0

      They haven’t even released a single commercial product yet, so your post doesn’t even make a lick of sense. Novelty item? They would have created a new industry, a new form of MEDIA. That 2 billion would have come within the first 3 years. The only reason this happened is because the greedy investors forced it to happen, I bet Palmer didn’t even have a choice and was forced to go along with it. That’s what you get for trusting scumbags, I knew from the start Iribe was up to no good. $100M WAS cutting it just fine, they have already gotten the likes of Carmack and DKII with that money. You are just another shill with his head in the sand.

      • goettel

        Between another random whiner who thinks he can predict the future, and OVR, my money is on OVR – literally.

  • Don Gateley

    I got a Rift DK1 early on and have been following them closely ever since. I find this purchase extremely encouraging. I very much like the vision that Zuckerberg gave voice to. I’ve felt all along that the Oculus people were focused way too much on games which I see as the bare tip of the tip of the iceberg of the VR universe. The good thing about their narrow focus is that essentially anything that enhances the enormously complex game experience (which I eschew personally) can have nothing but positive effects on the much simpler general entertainment market.

    I really hope this means that Zuckerberg will focus Facebook teams on more generally appealing applications of the tech. Branching out into enhanced general entertainment could be the future of Facebook.

    • Don Gateley

      I’d just like to give one simple example of the kind of thing I think will expand the VR market. I was reading Reza Aslan’s fine book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (my interest is historical) and he gives absolutely marvelous descriptions of the Jew’s temple at that time with amazing detail. As I was reading it I wished that he would team up with VR developers to create a detailed Rift tour of the temple as it likely was then and populate it with people going about their business and even ultimately with episodes of the historical events that might have happened there. Would I pay the price of admission to such a thing even for passive entertainment (other than moving around)? You damn betcha!

      Someone really creative could grab hold of such an idea, extend it and make an awesome experience of it. As I said above, games are barely the tip of the tip of the VR iceberg and I welcome it being infused with the broader view an outfit like Facebook could bring to it.

  • Pontianak

    Even IF Facebook lets Oculus do whatever they want, even IF it gets the price down, even IF they get more R&D as a result…. if you make it so your own customers feel like you just committed an EPIC betrayal, then you’ve lost your base. Lose your base, then you lose the game.

    The call is loud and clear right now… Oculu… I’m sorry, Facebook, just lost their VR base. I’m neutral on the facebook acquisition myself, but it’s obvious to see where this road leads if the users/customers feel betrayed this way. And jeebus, the 2 posts on the OVR blog sound like marketing Newspeak.

    • Chris Given

      Speak for yourself… I am a Oculus supporter and will always be and so are all my friends who are all still going to buy their hardware so your claims that they have lost their base is in fact baseless!! I think there is a bridge somewhere in need of an immature troll!! And you can play all the crappy ass graphics game called mine craft you want under there!! LOL

      • Mageoftheyear

        Hehehe! While it is traditional to quote the Matrix or Star Wars in these cases, today I feel this is more appropriate…

        All that is gold does not glitter,
        Not all those who wander are lost;
        The old that is strong does not wither,
        Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

        From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
        A light from the shadows shall spring;
        Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
        The crownless again shall be king.

        All that being said, Pontianak has been here a good long while and I hope that enough proof will come around to restore all the shaken faith out there.

      • Pontianak

        Haven’t been called a troll in a long time. I’m amused.

        With that said, I still think Oculus betrayed their base and they won’t live this down, ever. At the end of the day though, I suspect it won’t really matter. People still buy from Corporations all the time. EA anybody? Oculus may indeed have lost their magic now, they sold out and got the cash. Fine, but if Facebook is smart, they know that their name doesn’t jive with the crowd that Oculus is catering to and will keep their brand name distant from the Oculus. If Oculus wants to use Facebook’s infrastructure to create the Metaverse… well that’s a good platform to start from minus the whole real name thing (which could change for the Metaverse).

        I’ve reflected some more on the Facebook development, and will be snatching up some Facebook stock soon. Just gonna let that stock price slide some more first…

        Minecraft? I’ve never even played it

    • goettel

      You don’t speak for anyone but yourself, buddy.

  • Druss

    I am not happy about this, you don’t just make a deal with the Devil and not pay the price… No matter what Palmer says, I will believe the results when they arive. They really will have to price it at 100 bucks for me to buy it now. Even then , if Facebook has even the tiniest influence, even if it’s a little logo, I will personally learn C++ or Assembly or whatever it is I need to fix that shit a.s.a.p .

  • Digital Sailor

    I think that what happened to Oculus, his team, and consequently us, is wonderful !

    Palmer Luckey is such a lucid guy, no wonder his business is lucrative.

    I would like to see journalist ask him about his views on what Terence Mckenna says about VR, or Tom campbell.

    • Don Gateley

      Well, given that Terrence died 14 years ago I doubt he had much to say about this form of virtual reality but that’s not to say he had nothing to say about other virtual realities. (I personally heard him say plenty and know he would have been gaga over what is emerging.)

      Or is that exactly your point?

  • Curtrock

    I love how kickstarter backers (of which I am one) spend a measly $300, get EXACTLY what was promised, and then feel they know better than Oculus what is best for the company, and VR in general. Thank god Oculus is run by smart people who understand business reality. If you think partnering with FB is bad, here is another scenario that could have played out:

    Sony throws 2 Billion $$$$ at the developer community, to encourage development for their “Morpheus” HMD.
    Sony swamps the market with a massive push for their hardware, leveraging their stranglehold on the gaming industry, and locks-out Oculus from the console market.
    Oculus, while trying to compete on the PC platform, slowly suffocates, while devs choose to develop on the predictable PS4, which is easier because of the uniform nature of the hardware.

    By partnering with a giant like FB, Oculus now has the resources to play the BIG game. Kickstarter backers got to participate in the beginning of something revolutionary. I’m proud and grateful that I was fortunate enough to back a project on Kickstarter, that may actually make a difference.

    Oh yeah, Facebook is a communications REVOLUTION, and I have no problems with that company, whatsoever.

    • Don Gateley

      Given the timing I think Sony is exactly what drove them into Zuckerberg’s arms. I too believe it will be a huge net plus for more general VR.

  • buhbuh

    bump :p

    • sselmiatsinosra

      LOL

  • polysix

    riiiiight… what a crock of crap. It doubled the price not halved it. And the actual tech inside the CV1 rift aint all that either (it actually was dialed back from Palmer’s original vision for CV1 other than using dual screens now)