Roto VR is a chair designed to enhance seated VR experiences by letting you rotate as you would in the virtual world. It’s a neat concept, but its price point is staggering.
Pre-Orders for the kit are going live at 10:30am GMT today, and cost an eye-opening $499.99. That’s even at a special discount for pre-orders; without it Roto VR by itself will cost as much as an Oculus Rift. But that’s not even the biggest kick, as the chair in this form will only support mobile HMDs such as Gear VR and Google Cardboard. To get it to support the Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, you’ll need to fork out an extra $99.99 for an Advanced Cable Magazine that will also prevent the wires on tethered HMDs from getting tangled.
In its defence this is no longer the simple motorised platform that you would add to your own rotating chair and then operate by placing pressure on a foot plate. Instead, this version of Roto VR allows you to turn in both VR and the real world by simply looking in the direction you want to move with the given HMD linked up to the device. The kit links up using a ‘VR Headtracker’ that you’ll attach to your headset, though there’s also a set of touch pedals in place to help simulate actual walking in VR.
We haven’t gone butt-on with the new device yet, but we’re hoping to soon.
The add-ons don’t stop there, though. For an extra $49.99 you’ll get a front-mounted table that you can rest peripherals such as steering wheels and flight sticks on. There’s also a Double Rumble pack for $149.99 that will do exactly what it says on the tin, with two ‘Vibration Woofers’ that will go on the back and bottom of the chair. All told, then, the complete Roto VR package will cost around a pretty amazing $800 with the discount in place, and $900 when it goes on full sale.
It’s an undeniably astronomical price but Roto’s Elliott Myers believes it’s worth it. He told Upload VR that he thinks the chair is the “ideal ecosystem for seated VR” and will be for “many years to come.” He explained that the added immersion and tackling the “physical limitations” of VR made the entry price worth it.
All that said, Myers also referred to the device as the “ideal demo pod”. That might give you some hint as to who the company really wants to buy its kit; not just cash-rich VR enthusiasts but also developers and larger companies that are looking to the ideal way to showcase their seated VR experiences at events. “No more eagle-eyed ‘cable guys’ hanging around ready to pounce if something goes wrong,” he said.
Let’s hope there are plenty of studios looking for this kind of solution, because there can’t be too many Oculus Rift users out there looking to add an extra $800 onto their already large bills.