VR News and Info

Opinion: Is Oculus Quest too expensive to go mainstream?

Oculus Quest launch titles
Oculus Quest launch titles

Oculus Quest ($399) is launching in two days and the VR community is eagerly hoping that this is the VR headset that will be embraced by the masses, the one that will take VR mainstream.  But one reason it might not succeed is that it could be too expensive.

On one hand, the VR headset price is not out of this world.  Starting at $399, it is not terribly expensive, but at least you don’t have to buy any other hardware such as a graphics card or your phone.  The potential problem is the pricing of the games.

 Oculus QuestOculus RiftOculus Go
Sports Scramble30--
Journey of the Gods30--
Dance Central30--
Moss3030-
Beat Saber3030-
Robo Recall3030-
Creed3030-
BoxVR3020-
I Expect You to Die2525-
The Exorcist Legion VR (all episodes)2525-
Superhot2525-
Face Your Fears 220--
Shadow Point20--
Dead and Buried 220--
Job Simulator2020-
Thumper2020-
Apex Construct2020-
Tilt Brush2020-
Racket Fury: Table Tennis202010
RUSH20208
Virtual Desktop201410
Ballista15--
Virtual Virtual Reality151510
Ultrawings151510
Space Pirate Trainer1515-
Fruit Ninja VR1515-
Angry Birds VR1515-
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes151510
VR Karts15158
Drop Dead: Dual Strike15--
Vader Immortal10--
Nature Treks1010-
Ocean Rift101010
National Geographic VR Explore10--
Guided Tai Chi10--
Wander10-5
Apollo 111010-

Typically, if a game is available for both a console and a smartphone, the smartphone version costs less, or is sometimes even free to play.  For example, Mortal Kombat is $20 for PS4 but free to play on smartphone.  This is partly because the graphics on the smartphone version are not as good, but it’s also a recognition that smartphone players are casual gamers.

Even in VR, games for the mobile VR headset Oculus Go usually cost less than the same game on Oculus Rift.  For example, Virtual Virtual Reality is $15 for the Oculus Rift, while it is $10 for Oculus Go.  VR Karts is $15 for Oculus Rift while it is $8 for Oculus Go.

The pricing for Oculus Quest, however, is the same as the Rift, even though the Oculus Quest version’s graphics will be much more similar to the Oculus Go because the Quest is in fact a mobile VR headset running on a mobile chipset, the Snapdragon 835.  An example is RUSH, a game that is available for the Rift, Quest, and Go.  Here is a comparison between the Rift version and Quest version, followed by a comparison between the Rift version and the Go version.

Here is a side by side comparison of RUSH on Rift vs. Quest (courtesy: Paradise Decay)

Here is a side by side comparison of RUSH on Rift vs. Go (courtesy of Dr. Oculus VR):

You can see that RUSH on Quest looks almost the same as the Oculus Go version, but RUSH on Quest is currently priced $20, the same as the Rift version, while RUSH on Go is $8. In a few cases, the Quest version is even more expensive than the version for the Rift.  However, for games that support cross-buy, the Rift and Quest version will have the same price.

Sure, the Quest’s untethered 6DOF VR gaming experience is what everyone is looking forward to, but would you choose the version for the Quest if you had to pay as much as, or more than the Rift version of a game, despite the much better graphics on the Rift?  For those with a Rift or Rift S, the answer might be, “no.”

It seems that the Quest’s developers are betting that consumers won’t have access to a Rift and so they don’t have a real alternative to the Quest.  But the reality is that upgrading to a VR desktop is not as expensive as it may seem.  For most people, they simply have to add a GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 1650, which often does not even need an upgrade to the power supply.  And the $399 Rift S costs just the same as an Oculus Quest 64GB.

Quest truly has the potential to go mainstream because it checks all the boxes: standalone, wireless, 6DOF VR with 6DOF controls.  But the pricing of its games could inhibit its growth.  What do you think?  Is the Oculus Quest pricing fair?  Let me know in the comments!

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Mic Ty

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  • I’m not making the (magic) leap just yet because of this exact reason. I ordered the Go on launch day and enjoyed it a lot, knowing fully well the 3DoF limits the VR experience. The numerous sales allowed me to purchase some great content for a couple of bucks that I would ‘ve not even considered for $10. I rather pay $5 for a game that I will enjoy for a couple of hours max, then pay $20 for a game that stretches the gameplay too thin to warrant the price. I’m a casual gamer, I enjoyed Augmented Empire a lot until it started dragging on an on (I did finish it). The recent EQQO was great however, the perfect length AND for a reasonable price. I haven’t played Drop Dead for a while because the story mode alone would take me too much time etc.

    If $5-10 is normal for the Go, I think $10-15 with regular discounts would be the sweet spot for the Quest. With a $20 standard price I doubt the Quest will be successful. If more developers would adopt the serialized games format such as the Darth Vader game (10 dollars) I think they’ll generate more revenue with bite sized purchases. Even In App Purchases would work I think, let the casuals pay $5 for a couple of hours gameplay and let the serious gamers buy extra levels. Take the mobile racing game Asphalt for instance, I haven’t paid a dime yet enjoyed it for the time I’ve played it. I never crashed into the paywall because my playtime is limited. Give me a cheap but solid racing game in VR and I’ll be happy to purchase it and perhaps use an AIP option.

    Long story short; I agree the pricing of the software is the bottleneck of the Quest reaching critical mass.

    • Those are exactly my thoughts. For casual gamers, short cheap games are better than long expensive games. The Quest though looks like short expensive games. The devs are overestimating the demand for oculus quest i think.

      • If anything, the high price for the games suggests the devs aren’t confident that The Quest is going to be able to sell in large numbers.
        Developing these games is not cheap for the developers involved. And with the VR market being as small as it is, it’s very hard to earn back the initial development costs and start turning a profit.
        The high pricing suggests to me that they’re trying to maximize their per-unit revenue at the expense of volume. This only makes sense if you know the market is too small for you to reasonably expect to move a large number of copies and you have no other source of funding for continuing operations.
        Yeah, it kind of sucks from the consumer end to have to pay more. But it would suck a lot worse if these new VR studios went under before making back the money initially invested in them.

  • I tend to agree, I actually thought they would have had a pack of games come free with the Quest (acknowledge they do have demos but that’s not really the same). I’ve purchased the 128gb because I’m a VR enthusiast, but in my country (Australia) that equals $800 which is a huge cost especially if you’re new to VR. Even the 64GB at $650 AUD isn’t really going to take off I fear.

  • it is a question i always had. it seems they dont invest in the future but trying to recoup all their r&d cost in the first years by selling $400-$900 headset where they shoul sell it at loss the first years at $100-$300 to bootsrap the new platform. if amazon had their customers paying the real shipping costs the first years they would have never succeeded. why dont they do it for VR ?

  • I would like to thank you for the post. I received my Oculus Quest 2 days ago and I am planning to return it because the good games are too expensive and I cannot even buy cheap games from Steam platform. I am going to build a VR ready pc and buy the Oculus Rift S later.

    • Thanks Delali. Don’t worry, I’ll be posting a review of Rift S, and how to get a VR-ready PC for as low as $350 😀

      • $350 would be impressive, others start at about $500. And what will the trade-off be? Can a VR headset be used as a monitor straight from booting? That would save money on a monitor and it would make the system more portable.

  • I never have paid $30 for a Quest game and never will. I don’t get that much enjoyment from a game. I will happily pay $5-10 though.

    • I think a lot of people are in your position Conor. I think Oculus should have priced their games around $10 instead of around $20.