Facebook is having another go at bringing virtual reality to the mass market. The US giant reportedly has plans for a cheaper version of its Oculus Rift VR headset in a bid to take control of the VR space.
Facebook slashed the price of the current Rift to £399 – £200 off its RRP – last week in a bid to increase underperforming sales figures. And its new device is set to be even cheaper, selling from as little as $200 when it is released next year.
Like current Oculus products, the new headset will be geared toward immersive gaming, watching video and social networking. Initial reports suggest that the new device will be a lighter headset in order to make the device transportable.
At Oculus’s developer conference last year, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg described a “sweet spot” for a device that sits between the Gear VR and Rift. “This is the kind of thing that we believe will exist,” he said.
In spite of the company's confidence, the Rift has – according to SuperData analysts – shifted around 240,000 units, which is significantly lower than the cheaper PlayStation VR more expensive HTC Vive. Perhaps Oculus is hoping that another widely publicised discount will help bolster sales, but it doesn't seem that price is the biggest factor at play.
While pricing will obviously be a consideration to anybody making a purchase, the fact that the HTC Vive – which is still retailing at its post-Brexit price point of £760 – is outselling the Rift may be ringing alarm bells. Whether it's down to perception of the product's quality or retail strategy, the Vive is having a better time of it right now and Oculus will hope for change.