I don’t know if any of you have ever considered selling your blood, but I have. In college I found myself standing in the waiting room of the plasma “donation” center with a friend for nearly an hour before we were told that unfortunately they had a full list of “donors” and we would need to come back another time. The people beating us out for the spots were mostly homeless. I considered it a wake up call.
I say all this because, despite what some on the Internet may think, the life of a VR journalist is not one where I live off the bribe money for my reviews and the kickbacks I receive from Oculus. It’s true, I may no longer be at “selling my freaking blood” levels of poverty but I do live in the Bay Area and I’m more than familiar with the moment of panic you get when you see what’s actually in your bank account.
I think most VR fans are like me. Similarly aged, and at a similar level of income and expenses and so my question for you all this week is this: is virtual reality too expensive to become as popular as it needs to be?
To put out some facts and figures: the two most popular high-end consumer VR headsets — the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — cost $599 and $799 respectively. Not to mention they both require PCs that cost roughly $1,000 minimum in order to run — although slightly cheaper alternatives are starting to pop up.
There are also cheaper headset options, too. The Samsung Gear VR is $99 and works with Samsung smartphones. Google Cardboard is also a similar option and can be obtained for well under $50. Some question, however, whether these systems’ lack of positional tracking makes them worthy ambassadors capable of taking this industry to the heights it will require to be successful.
But what do you think? Do you find virtual reality prices predatory, exclusionary, and prohibitive? Or do I just need to learn how to stick to a budget like an adult (Okay! Okay! I’ll call your accountant friend, DAD).
Sound off in the comments and let us know!