PlayStation VR Likely Cheaper Than Oculus Rift, But Mobile May Be Early Winner

The Oculus Rift price was revealed Wednesday, and it is a whopping $600 for the headset bundle alone. Competitors like Sony’s PlayStation VR have not announced a price yet, but analyst Piers Harding-Rolls of IHS expects the PS4 compatible virtual reality headset to come in at a lower price.

2016 is supposed to be the year that Virtual Reality takes off with the release of Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC VIVE, and other virtual reality devices. The price of the Oculus Rift has given way to some sticker shock among those interested, but Harding-Rolls writes: “IHS continues to believe that the audience for VR in this opening phase is relatively narrow and centred on early adopting gamers and tech evangelists. The pricing reaffirms this view.”

Indeed, as the $600 price of the Oculus Rift is just the starting point, as previously mentioned by the Inquisitr. A capable PC is necessary, as well, and machines being promoted by Oculus have starting price points of $949 and go well above $1,000. Fortunately, price is not an issue for most early adopters.

Oculus Rift VR Headset [Image via Oculus Rift]“Early adopting PC gamers are likely to be less price sensitive so the impact on our current sales outlook is likely to be mitigated due to the target audience,” Harding-Rolls notes. “This is the type of audience that spends $400-$500 every other year on graphics cards and large amounts on games.”

So where does this leave the PlayStation VR? In a better pricing position to start with.

“We do not expect PlayStation VR to launch at this high a price point,” Harding-Rolls said in reference to the Oculus Rift’s $600 cost. “Which gives Sony a chance to establish a lead in this opening phase of consumer VR.”

Arguments can be had over whether the performance of a PlayStation 4 combined with the PlayStation VR can match an Oculus Rift paired with a high-end PC packed with an Intel i7 CPU and a Nvidia GTX970 graphics card or better. In all likelihood, it won’t. However, the PlayStation VR has a definite price advantage.

The Playstation 4 currently runs for $350, and reached $300 over the 2015 holiday shopping season. This resulted in 5.7 million consoles sold between the end of November and the New Year to bring the total number of consoles sold to 35.9 million, according to a Sony press release. That gives Sony an affordable and broad base to work with when the PlayStation VR launches later in 2016. Already owning a PlayStation 4 will make purchasing Sony’s virtual reality headset a likelier occurrence.

A SuperData Research report estimates that approximately $1.9 million PlayStation VR headsets will be sold in 2016, with a price between $400 and $600. If Harding-Rolls estimate plays out, the price will likely be more in the $400 to $550 range.

That estimated number of PlayStation VR sold in 2016 lags behind the 6.6 million estimated virtual reality headsets for the PC. That’s a market that will have three or more devices launch this year, including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, though.

Virtual Reality Audience - SuperData Research [Image via SuperData Research]It’s the mobile market where virtual reality headsets are expected to take off, due to the lower cost, though. The Samsung Gear VR has a $100 price, while the Google Cardboard has prices that range from $20 to $120. This is the kind of novelty price point where consumers can get the taste of virtual reality using a smartphone they already own without worrying about breaking the bank. This will result in three out four early VR adopters to go with a mobile solution over PC and console, according to SuperData Research.

“Hardcore gamers are willing to spend 29 [percent] more than their casual counterparts due to their high engagement with gaming content,” the firm writes. “Console gamers’ pre-ownership of supporting hardware also makes them likelier to spend, with 19 [percent] of console gamers willing to pay more than $400 on VR compared to only 10 [percent] of PC gamers.”

How much are you willing to spend on a virtual reality setup? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via PlayStation]