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 Quest||Oculus Rift||Oculus Go|
|Journey of the Gods||30||-||-|
|I Expect You to Die||25||25||-|
|The Exorcist Legion VR (all episodes)||25||25||-|
|Face Your Fears 2||20||-||-|
|Dead and Buried 2||20||-||-|
|Racket Fury: Table Tennis||20||20||10|
|Virtual Virtual Reality||15||15||10|
|Space Pirate Trainer||15||15||-|
|Fruit Ninja VR||15||15||-|
|Angry Birds VR||15||15||-|
|Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes||15||15||10|
|Drop Dead: Dual Strike||15||-||-|
|National Geographic VR Explore||10||-||-|
|Guided Tai Chi||10||-||-|
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!