When Oculus opened the pre-orders for the Rift VR headset last month, the expected shipping date of orders slipped from the official release date of March 28 to a very vague ‘June’ in the blink of an eye – we’re now pushed back as far as July, if anybody’s counting – but it wasn’t flying off the shelves due to an aggressive pricing strategy. The Oculus unit costs $599 US, significantly more than the $350 figure that was floated during its development, and that doesn’t even include the Oculus controllers (which won’t be available until later in the year).
This left Valve and HTC a fantastic opportunity to undercut Oculus with an aggressive strategy on the Vive SteamVR price… and it’s going to be $800 US. Holy shit.
To be fair to HTC and Valve though, you do get (arguably) more for your money at the higher SteamVR price.
Both Oculus and Vive units include one headset and all the associated tracking gubbins and cables, but Valve’s offering also features their completed wireless handheld VR controllers, while the Rift is bundled with an Xbox controller in lieu of their not-yet-ready VR hand-wagglers. There are also some thoughtful extra touches like phone notification integration and a forward-facing camera, which might turn out to be stand-out features for people expecting to spend a lot of time with the headset on.
There’s no word on the shipping date to go with the SteamVR price reveal, but we already knew that pre-orders will open on February 29, 2016. The spec requirements are high too, so in addition to your $800 VR unit, you’ll probably need a $1000 gaming PC to power it; with the cheaper base hardware and the benefit of revealing their hand last, Sony really do have the chance to pull everyone’s pants down with the PlayStation VR.