As Palmer Luckey braces consumers for a more expensive Rift, analysts warn a headset over $400 could slow adoption

by Nick Ochoa • October 15th, 2015

Earlier this month Palmer Luckey told Road to VR that the Oculus Rift would cost “more than $350.” Luckey’s reasoning for this was that he was “confident there’s going to be VR existing at multiple quality points and price points” and he wanted to make sure Oculus invests “in making the best possible quality headset.” Choosing to go with quality over price is ultimately beneficial to the long term success of the industry, but will it harm it’s short term growth?

Greenlight VR, a market research firm focused exclusively on virtual reality, believes that HMD prices higher than $400 will cause many people to skip purchasing a headset altogether, possibly slowing the development of a large consumer market.

After studying the results from Greenlight VR’s comprehensive study of 2,300 U.S. consumers, produced jointly with marketing research firm Touchstone Research, only 40% of respondents report a willingness to spend greater than $400 on an HMD. While the questions were not linked to any particular HMD, consumers did express price as a possible concern in the survey’s open comments section.

Max amount willing to pay for HMD

When you cut the data further, Greenlight and Touchstone found that college education and disposable income mattered significantly to the amount consumers are willing to part with. So too did gender and reported ethnicity. In fact, men in the sample report a maximum amount that is 1.4x higher than women in the sample, while hispanic males report the highest willingness to spend.

A number will look to the “low cost solutions,” like the Gear VR or Google Cardboard, for their first taste of VR but the truth of the matter is while compelling, they pale in comparison to the top end VR experiences with hand tracked input and positional tracking. The questions is, just how accessible will the price points of those headsets be?

 

Greenlight VR will be sharing select findings from their twitter account (@inGreenlight), but the full 100-page report is currently offered for discounted pre-sale on Greenlight VR’s website.

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