Standalone VR Headsets Powered By Intel’s Project Alloy Will Cost ‘Closer To $1,000’

by Joe Durbin • March 13th, 2017

The cost of virtual reality headsets created using Intel’s Project Alloy reference design is going to be “closer to $1000” according to Achin Bhowmik, the head of the company’s perceptual computing group.

During an interview with UploadVR, Bhowmik explained that the price of Project Alloy-powered VR headsets would be “comparable to a typical laptop” and estimated that the likely all-in cost for one of these will be anywhere from $599-$899. Bhowmik still views this as a cheaper point of entry into VR for most consumers because “you wont need a PC to run it.”

alloy intel close up 2

Project Alloy is the name for an Intel-created reference design that outside hardware manufacturers will be able to use to create standalone VR headsets. What makes Alloy products special is that they are self-contained machines. Most VR headsets right now, like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR,  are tethered by a long cord to a machine that can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to many thousands of dollars. Alloy, however, is a wireless VR solution that puts the rendering, tracking and display hardware all into the actual headset itself.

Bhowmik said this means Alloy headsets will inherently be less powerful than a Rift or a Vive — with far less powerful rendering power packed into the headset compared with a desktop PC. However, Intel is betting that the freedom provided by a wireless, standalone product will be enough to allow their headset designs to remain competitive when they eventually release.

In fact, according to Bhowmik “we don’t see [Alloy] competing at all [with other high-end headsets]. They are not even in the same ballpark. It’s not going to be one killing the other.”

A look inside the Project Alloy headset.

A look inside the Project Alloy headset.

Intel has no plans to manufacture and release a VR product of its own but it is preparing to send out “thousands” of Alloy dev kits to interested organizations by the end of this year. This means that we likely won’t see any Alloy-created headsets from partner manufacturers until 2018 at the earliest.

Project Alloy was demonstrated at this year’s CES in Las Vegas and we have two hands on reports for you to explore.

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What's your reaction?
  • Michael Davidson

    $1000…$1500….$2000, it doesn’t matter how much the overall cost is with these numbers, most people can’t bite. While financing takes some of the sting away, you are still looking at around 80 – 100 month payment on a 12 month plan.

    • Caven

      It’s not going to stay that way. Give it time. It used to be that cellphones were limited to the wealthy. Now, it seems like everyone has a cellphone, and even the crappiest modern cellphone is far more capable than the ones rich people were using in the ’80s.

      • Robert Cole

        yes the inevitable slide of technology vs. cost

        smartphones are everywhere, and inexpensive, but capable. Its taken a decade.

    • DougP

      Re: “$1000…$1500….$2000, it doesn’t matter how much the overall cost is with these numbers, most people can’t bite. ”

      PSVR sales indicate otherwise.

      $1000 all-in is similar to what someone pays for Sony’s system & that’s been a huge success as far as #s go.

  • Kotone Shiinoha

    >>”They are not even in the same ballpark.”

    somebody is new to this. you don’t use the word BALLPARK in vr

    • elev8d

      Lol. I don’t know who expected $300… that’s just crazy. XD

      • polysix

        probably everyone who read Palmer’s words? $400 wouldn’t have been too surprising but $600? GTFO

      • kontis

        Oculus’ Nate Mitchell specifically mentioned $200 – $400 price range (but that was before Facebook when they were still planning to sell the modified single screen DK2 without even a gamepad as the consumer version).

    • Gerald Terveen

      rofl … that is only true for Oculus, the competition likes the word now 😀

  • NooYawker

    It’s probably the same as Gear VR with the phone built into it.

    • mr lava lava

      That’s what I thought. Nothing wrong with it the GearVR is a decent vr experience…but a gearvr without the phone option at $1000..not great.
      If it had the ability to say tether to a PC/console as well..and become a ‘dumb’ vr headset like the vive or rift ,that would maybe make it worth it. Play hi end vr game at home..take the headset out and play a lower spec seated version of it on a train ride…a little bit like a VR nintendo switch..

  • Xron

    He forgets that we use pc’s not only for Vr/Ar, + I really doubt they can manage to pull off pc power lvl on that headset and by the time it comes, the might be 2nd gen vive and oculus devices, so good try and go on.

  • polysix

    niche of a niche. Can’t see this doing that well even if their intentions are good. The cost seems “fair” (depending on onboard power) but it’s kind of the wrong solution given that power constraints are relevant in all-in-ones and the last thing good VR needs is power constraints.

    It’ll be just another blip along the gen 1/gen 2 history line, intel will learn from it and maybe in years to come when power is smaller, cheaper, cooler this (and Santa Cruz) will be viable for real VR fans, until then it’s basically a tarted up gearVR with better tracking (but still no mention of proper tracking VR controllers).

  • Stranger On The Road

    Alloy, however, is a wireless VR solution that puts the rendering, tracking and display hardware all into the actual headset itself. (emphasis added)

    I would have gone with ‘self contained’ or ‘all-in-a-box’ instead of ‘wireless’ since it does not need to be connected to another system in order to work.

  • James Hall

    $1000 because it has intel inside :3 put something else inside and the price would be lower.