Will virtual reality get cheaper?
This is a question that is probably on the minds of many high school teenagers who wants to play that brilliant war game using a VR headset. The price point determines whether a product will get mass acceptance, or not.
The story of VR runs on a similar path as Oculus. In the last five years, Oculus has come a long way from being a basement startup to a Kickstarter project to a 2 billion acquisition by Facebook three years ago. In 2016, they sold 2 million VR headsets. Oculus sold 400,000 pieces of its developer version of Rift. It is not a big number by any measure. But consider this, each headset costs about a $1000 and needs a powerful PC to run it. Two years down the lane, Rift got a permanent price cut to $399 and has sold millions of units this year alone.
In 2018, you can find a VR headset starting from $10 right up to $600. The segmentation of price has made it possible for enthusiasts to experience VR even with the cheapest headset. As the buyers’ niche widens, so will the competition. And once the competition increases and manufacturing starts on a big scale, prices are bound to come down.
Apart from cutting the costs of their most expensive headset, Oculus has also brought out a standalone VR headset called Oculus Go at a retail price of $199. This is bound to get more traction from the market and encourage more manufacturers to come out with cheaper standalone headsets.
A similar story happened with the smartphones. The first set of Android phones used to retail for $600 or more. But just a few years down the line, you can get a great smartphone for as little as $200. While there will always be flagships phones that cost $600 or more, common people can still enjoy the advantages of an Android at an affordable price point.
In the same way, five years down the line, we will see a lot of VR headsets at a low price point. No doubt there will be a premium segment that costs a lot of money. But a budget-priced, yet excellent VR headset will be in the hands of everyone.
Apart from the reducing the cost of VR headsets, even games will become cheaper when the price wars start. Mass adoptions will encourage more producers to enter the market and the consumers will have more options to choose from. Apart from games, it will become easier to involve in your favourite sports using a VR headset.
Can’t make it to the UK for the Wimbledon Tennis tournament? No problem. You can watch it live, in a VR stream for a lot lesser than the flight ticket price.
Apart from VR headsets, other equipment like the cameras needed to capture 360-degree videos and other tools will also get cheaper with time. This can open new areas like distance education, remotely via virtual reality and a lot more.