Regardless of its main competitor, Oculus, making a significant value minimize to the Rift & Contact earlier this yr, HTC’s Vive headset still sits at a hearty $800. The corporate’s GM of VR, Daniel O’Brien, tells us why HTC hasn’t minimize the price of their headset in response.
Talking to Street to VR this week at E3 2017, O’Brien broached the subject of virtual reality’s fee of adoption for the reason that launch of the Vive and Rift in 2016. He spoke of hyper-inflated analyst projections and ultimately in regards to the value of VR hardware which he acknowledged to nonetheless be acceptable only for the early-adopter phase. And whereas it was agreed that the value of VR might want to come down over time so as to develop the virtual reality market into the mainstream, O’Brien provided a justification for the Vive retaining its $800 value level even within the face a $200 minimize to the Rift + Contact earlier this yr.
Talking to the system’s skill to extra simply scale to room-sized play areas than the Rift, he defined, “we haven’t dropped the core price of the Vive because we think it offers the best room-scale [experience], hands down.”
Certainly, the Vive’s SteamVR Monitoring tech requires two exterior sensors that only want wall power to supply monitoring in a sizeable 11.5 x 11.5 ft space. The Rift then again tracks simply 5 x 5 ft with two sensors (in a 360 configuration), and requires that each sensors connect on to the host PC, which might imply tougher cable management. An additional sensor can be added to the Rift for $60 to bump the tracked space as much as eight.2 x eight.2 ft, and a fourth sensor could possibly provide an excellent bigger area, although some computer systems run into points with available USB bandwidth when utilizing that many sensors; Oculus’ official suggestion is that including greater than three sensors is prone to create extra points than it’s worth.
Whereas Oculus has claimed on a number of events to be promoting the Rift at-cost, HTC confirmed in 2016 that it was turning a profit on the sale of each headset.
Earlier this yr Oculus decreased the price of the Rift and Contact by $100 every, reducing the overall price of the headset and controllers to $600 (or $660 in the event you add the third sensor for a extra comparable room-scale monitoring space).
O’Brien’s rationalization of the HTC’s stance on the Vive’s price suggests the corporate sees itself because the price-leader, capable of command the current value level with out important influence from decrease priced choices.
Worth-sensitive vs. Value-sensitive
O’Brien elaborated additional on HTC’s perspective on the Vive’s value, saying that there are definitely price-sensitive clients who’re on the lookout for the bottom price choice, however there are additionally ‘value-sensitive clients who’re keen to pay extra in the event that they really feel they’re getting higher worth out of their buy;’ the latter is the place a big portion of VR early-adopters fall, he mentioned.
And whereas the Vive stays at an $800 value level, HTC has been making delicate enhancements to the system, maybe including to the Worth that O’Brien speaks of. We reportedly just lately that the corporate had reduced the headset’s weight by 15%, and commenced providing tweaked SteamVR Tracking basestations and improved packaging that doubles as a carrying case. The most important enchancment thus far, nonetheless, is unquestionably the Vive Deluxe Audio Strap which is a $100 add-on.
The headset’s value stays unchanged since launch, however the firm has additionally aimed to supply worth within the type of bundles, O’Brien mentioned.
HTC has all the time included a couple of bundled games with the headset’s buy, and these days started providing a one-month trial to the corporate’s Viveport Subscription service for entry to extra VR content material. HTC has additionally provided restricted time offers that see the headset bundled with extra games, GPUs, or VR Prepared PCs, which might symbolize general financial savings of some hundred , mentioned O’Brien.
Through the 2016 vacation season, the best Vive deal we noticed was a $100 discount on the headset and a $100 present card when purchased from the Microsoft Retailer. For the approaching vacation 2017 season we hope to see even steeper reductions.
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