Oculus Rift: “$350 Ballpark” Comment Was Deliberate Misguidance

Whether you agree or not, Oculus Rift developers deliberately misguided everyone with the $350 ballpark comment until it was CES 2016.

With the Oculus Rift preorders going live finally, a number of people have been shocked to hear that the device alone costs $599 because the guy behind all this, Palmer Luckey himself, once told us that it would be “roughly in that $350 ballpark, but it will cost more than that.”

Interestingly, Luckey couldn’t figure out that he was misguiding people until the official price was unveiled at CES 2016, and now he has come up with a proper apology for doing that.

While he doesn’t say it himself, his explanation screams deliberate misguidance. This is because he says he was “frustrated” at that time because people were saying that Oculus Rift would cost $1500 – which was actually the estimated cost of a whole setup including a suitable high-end PC. So, while trying to “contrast” $1500 with $350 he simply told the journalists that would be the price range.

What’s even more interesting is that Luckey agrees that even at that time, $599 was their internal estimate; here’s one part of his comment:

During that time, many outlets were repeating the “Rift is $1500!” line, and I was frustrated by how many people thought that was the price of the headset itself. My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 – that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark. Later on, I tried to get across that the Rift would cost more than many expected, in the past two weeks particularly.

Moving on he says that there were “legal, financial, competitive, and otherwise” reasons for not prepping the people who already have high-end PCs. In other words, they had reasons not to try hard enough to clarify this major misconception regarding the price of Oculus Rift.

So yeah, between the $350 ballparks, and the $1500 for the setup and all those misleading comments, deliberate misguidance is definitely what these guys did.

Also for those who would say that we should be looking at what is being offered, nothing says that this is the correct price, a number of researchers and analysts have stated that this is pricey, although a few others thought it was expected. So the price being correct is still a question.

And, we haven’t even started on the Xbox One controller being bundled with it. Way to go Oculus.

Anyhow, there are a number of positive things about the head-mounted set despite the ill-managed communications. For instance, it comes with a free copy of Lucky’s Tale, the level of spatial awareness allegedly makes you a much better gamer, and finally the developers have allowed users to buy their games, mod them and use on other headsets.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.