‘Virtual reality to go mainstream in next two years as price decreases’

Leading UK system builders Scan Computers and Overclockers UK have told PCR their thoughts on virtual reality and the Oculus Rift headset costing £499 at launch.

Steven Levitt, PR manager for Overclockers UK, said: "The price is realistic for a new technology, although probably higher than many were expecting. For the best VR experience, you need a high end PC so the overall cost will be restrictive.

"Competition will drive future development and we expect VR to become a realistic mainstream solution within the next two years. 

"VR focus is initially aimed at gaming, but we are at the start of a very interesting road where VR can have a variety of uses, such as training, education, product and architectural visualisation. The entertainment uses can go beyond gaming to films, sport and even adult entertainment!

"For training, VR could be used in life threatening situations such as bomb defusal and firefighting. For education, you could go to places you could never explore otherwise, such as the solar system, the depths of the ocean, inside the human body and even sight-seeing around the world."

Elan Raja III, director at Scan Computers, added: "With VR, because it’s new technology the prices start high. And with efficiencies in production and also increasing demand, in the long term it will follow the same cycle as any technology. What you should expect is performance to increase and price to decrease.

"With that, the good thing about VR – it’s been long in the tooth. It’s previously been used for military applications and R&D.

"The fact that it comes into mass market consumer puts an emphasis on technology, more specifically on CPU and GPU technology. And that puts the ball firmly back in the channel, because it’s very diverse and has the capability to adopt their offerings to match all these new changes in technology, so it’s going to interesting times."

Both rival system builders are already selling VR-ready machines, with their cheapest VR systems priced at around £1,000.

While Oculus is selling the Rift headset direct at the moment (and has said it is ‘not yet revealing’ when it will work with channel partners), OCUK has hinted that it would like to stock the device in the future.

Levitt added: "Initial pre-orders are direct with Oculus. We are currently monitoring the situation and hope to offer complete VR solutions."

Read the upcoming February issue of PCR for more retailer views of VR and the Oculus price

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