Virtual Reality Makers Oculus VR Have a Plan: Free

By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

While I can't contain my excitement over the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset I was able to try out at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, the question of what the business plan is behind the new technology still looms.

Apparently it looms for the device's makers Oculus VR as well. One option: they'll give the device away.

Here's a taste of a report from Edge Online, who caught up with Oculus VR CEO Brenden Iribe last week in Brighton, England:

"We're not there yet, but we're sitting there thinking all the time, how can we make this free? You want everybody to play it and the cheaper it is, the more people are going to go out and buy it. Today it's a $300 dev kit but we're thinking about how to get it out to as many people as possible."

Giving away the hardware would have sounded crazy in the pre-smartphone era. In this day and age it is one of the soundest value propositions around.

Assuming that the device can be brought in at around $300 a unit, a subsidized Rift could be made available. We'd likely see a monthly fee of some kind, which would require some kind of ongoing content in order to justify the expense. A persistent game world, perhaps.

Getting the unit in as many hands as possible will attract more developers, and it is those developers who will make the software that will determine the success of the device, long term.

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