VR was once viewed as novelty or luxury item that would never pan out, similar to 3-D TVs. After this week's E3, VR took center stage, and was viewed as the future. Large developers ranging from Ubisoft, to Bethesda announced that they have numerous big titles in development that are going to be exclusively for VR. This adaption is a lot sooner than many industry experts had predicted just one year ago, and now we are faced with the major issue of price. How can a mass consumer get into VR when it is so expensive?
Well, up until now, consumers had to spend close to $600 for a graphics card that could support any VR headset (Oculus and Vive.) That is steep price to pay for a graphics card, and keep in mind consumers would also have to spend $600 on an Oculus headset, or $900 on a Vive headset. Consumers are expected to invest over $1200 to get into the VR game. Additionally, this is without factoring in desktop setup such as current gen cpu and ram. At that price point, VR is completely incapable of attracting mass consumers.
Well, AMD might have an answer for consumer's problems. Just a few weeks ago, AMD announced the R 480x. This graphic card is fully built to run VR, and it has the power to not only compete with Nvidia's $500-$600 options, but also the power to beat them. AMD publicly stated, "We want to jump-start the VR ecosystem which is now stalled." This is great news, but how do they plan on “jump-starting” the VR ecosystem? The AMD R 480 will be hitting the market at the end of June with price tag of just $200.
That now brings the consumer price point to $800 for VR, a gigantic drop in price that will enable more users to enter the VR market. Also, factor in that many companies have yet to realize AMD is capable of bringing more users to VR, which would grant Oculus and Vive the ability to ramp up production, and push cost far lower than the current price tag. My prediction is that the cost of VR setup (graphic card and headset) on PC will be closer to $550 by early 2017. That is a price point I expect consumers to be more willing to spend to jump into the VR universe