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One of the most highly anticipated consumer electronic devices set for release in 2014 is the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset with head-tracking and motion capabilities. It's finally doing 3D virtual reality right and games have finally come up to par to make it worthwhile. However, it may or may not be worthwhile given that it's estimated to cost $500.
Forbes' contributor Jason Evangelho came to the conclusion about the pricing of the Oculus Rift when using Sherlock Holmes' school of thought on deduction when he figured that the collaboration between Virtual World Web and Virtuix called “Holodeck v 1.0” costs a massive $999 and the only other two components in the collaboration included the $0 Virtual World Web software and the Omni Treadmill that carries a $499 price tag. Quite naturally, that would mean that the Oculus Rift, which is also included in the “Holodec v 1.0” collaboration, would carry a $499 price tag by default.
While one could come up with a number of different reasons why the above form of reasoning may or may not be true, CNET update host Bridget Carey brings a slightly more grounded approach to uncovering the potential price. During CES Carey managed to get a first look at the Avegant Glyph virtual reality headset that turns the goggles from a standard VR head-tracking unit into a VR head-tracking set with headphones. There's no hidden guesswork at the price because Avegant made it quite known that it would be fairly expensive. You can check out the image below.
The Verge also did a pretty in-depth write-up on the technology back in December, and even then they revealed a rather hefty price tag. How much will it cost? $499.
Now some could argue that the conclusion that Evangelho came to and the price point revealed by Avegant for the Glyph – and reconfirming that price at CES – are still just swirling rumors at what the Rift might actually cost, which is mostly true.
However, with Oculus being coy about actual pricing and the standard already being set by the price of the technology itself, it's pretty safe to say that unless they find some way to cut down the costs somewhere (though hopefully not in the way that Microsoft did with the original Kinect by offloading some of the load by removing a processing chip, which effectively killed the Kinect's possibility to calculate and render movements with very little input lag) it's looking like the Rift is going to settle around the same price as the Xbox One.
I suppose the bigger question is: will gamers front up $500 for a virtual reality headset? Personally, I don't know if the Rift is worth the price of admission but I definitely believe the Omni Treadmill is worth the price of admission, so it mostly depends on what you're looking for out of your gaming peripherals. $1,000 for the complete virtual reality experience actually isn't that bad a price, though, especially if you include the very realistic looking Delta Six gun controller that could bring an unprecedented amount of realism to the gameplay experience.
Of course, the price tag for the Oculus Rift will undoubtedly arrive before it launches sometime in the later half of 2014, the only problem is now is waiting for that price to become public.