Virtual Reality is the “next big thing” if you listen to many tech big wigs, but expensive hardware and a dearth of content have kept it from reaching the masses so far.
Facebook is looking to solve this industry dilemma by cutting the price of its Oculus VR headset by more than 30 percent for the next six weeks, dropping the price of its headset-touch controllers combo pack from $599 to $399. The discount isn’t the first for Oculus this year — Facebook already slashed $100 off both the headset and its controller back in March.
The move will match Oculus up with the price of Sony’s Playstation VR headset — a competitor that has been more successful of late. Sony sold nearly 1 million units in the three months following the fall release of Playstation VR, making it one of the more popular headsets on the market. Oculus, for comparison, only sold about 250,000 headsets last year, according to research firm SuperData.
Jason Rubin, Vice President of Content at Oculus, tweeted this morning #YouHaveNoExcusesLeft to not have a VR headset. Still, the consistent search for a viable price point indicates the market for VR isn’t as robust as initially anticipated.
Two years after Mark Zuckerberg said “virtual reality is the next platform,” the industry is in a bit of a holding pattern: shipments are on the rise, but companies are often hesitant to release sales figures. A lack of content has limited VR to a niche following for now, although companies are continuing to pour money into new productions, looking to spur growth.
“With plenty of headset options already in the market and even more coming soon, hardware isn’t the issue,” said Jitesh Ubrani, a senior analyst with IDC, to TheWrap. “The bigger challenge is the slow growth in content that appeals to a mass audience, combined with the confusion associated with a lack of cross-platform support.”