Bad news, everyone: the future is probably going to be too expensive for a lot of us, at least when it arrives in May.
That’s when the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is set to start showing up on doorsteps. You can pre-order the device today, but it’s not cheap—the price tag is $599 before tax and shipping, and that’s the minimum it’ll cost if you have a computer that can run it. There’s a downloadable program to check your computer’s capabilities on the Oculus store page for the Rift, so you can see if you’re going to need a (probably expensive) upgrade or not.
Of course, early editions of new technologies are often pretty expensive, although Oculus has been bandying around a price point of somewhere between $300 and $500 for years now. The company was acquired by Facebook with apparent dreams of adding a lot more VR functionality to Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, but it seems like it’ll probably be a while before everyone is looking at 360-degree photos of the babies of their friends from high school.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey defended the price on Twitter, saying that Oculus won’t be making any money off the headset, and that $600 is cheap for high-end VR hardware.
To reiterate, we are not making money on Rift hardware. High end VR is expensive, but Rift is obscenely cheap for what it is.— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 6, 2016
If the Rift is too pricey, VR enthusiasts might consider checking out Samsung’s Gear VR, which costs $100 and uses a Samsung Galaxy phone—perhaps cheaper if you want the phone anyway (and not so much if you’re buying the phone just for VR). And surely the folks at Sony are pretty excited about the Rift news, because any price on the Playstation VR headset is likely going to seem cheap by comparison.
If you’re so inclined, you can pre-order an Oculus Rift here.