Facebook slashes the price of its Oculus Rift VR headset and controller by $200
Facebook’s virtual reality unit Oculus has cut the all-in price for its Rift and Touch products by $200.
The virtual reality headset, Rift, and motion controller Touch will together retail for $598.
‘We believe this lower entry price will attract consumers to PC VR (virtual reality for personal computers) at a faster pace,’ Jason Rubin, Oculus’ vice president of content said.
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The virtual reality headset, Rift, and motion controller Touch will together retail for $598, which Oculus hopes will make the technology more affordable for normal users.
Rift used to retail for $599 while Touch for $199.
The recently released Touch controllers are designed to make it feel as though the user’s real hands and virtual hands are identical.
Each Touch controller is powered by an AA battery and features an analogue stick and buttons.
They also include haptics for vibrating feedback.
The two are bundled with an Oculus sensor which monitors their movement.
‘After launching VR into a hype cycle generated outside of the industry, we’ve recently seen some of those same voices shift to predictions of VR doom and gloom,’ Rubin said.
‘We believe these stories are as overblown as the initial hype, and we still believe in VR’s unlimited long-term potential.
‘Today, Oculus is aggressively making the high end of VR more attainable.’
‘We believe this lower entry price will attract consumers to PC VR at a faster pace.
‘This is universally good for the entire community, but especially for developers.
‘A larger userbase means higher potential sales, easier player matching, better communities, and results in the ability to invest more in titles.’
Rubin also admitted that VR has suffered from not having a ‘killer app’
‘I can’t say for sure that this year’s line-up is going to have VR’s World of Warcraft or GTA, but with every new release, and with every new discovery, VR gets closer to finding its killer app,’ he said.
It comes amid an ongoing legal row over Oculus.
Video game publisher ZeniMax Media, which earlier this month won a $500 million verdict against Facebook‘s Oculus virtual reality unit for unauthorized copying of computer code, has asked a federal judge to block Oculus from using the code in its products.
The injunction could limit the number of games available for sale for Oculus’ Rift VR headset.
Such a move would be a blow to a product still in its infancy and on which Facebook has made a big bet for the future.
The jury in federal court in Dallas found Oculus, which Facebook acquired for about $2 billion in 2014, used ZeniMax’s computer code to launch the Rift virtual-reality headset.
ZeniMax made its request in papers filed on Thursday in federal court in Dallas.
It was the same court where jurors on Feb. 1 issued the verdict against Oculus and its founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe.
Oculus has already made the disputed code available to companies that develop games, and it is embedded in many of the games available for use on the Rift, as well as Samsung’s Gear VR, a smartphone-compatible device developed through a partnership with Oculus.
Earlier this month a Texas jury ordered Facebook, its virtual reality unit Oculus, and other defendants to pay a combined $500 million to ZeniMax Media Inc., a video game publisher.
The jury awarded the sum after determining that Oculus executives violated a ZeniMax non-disclosure agreement in the early days of building the Oculus Rift VR headset.
However, it decided that Oculus wasn’t guilty of misappropriating trade secrets, another of ZeniMax’s charges.
According to Polygon, the $500 million award is composed of $200 million for NDA violation, plus $50 million for copyright infringement, a $50 million award against both Oculus and co-founder Palmer Luckey for false designation, and $150 million against former CEO Brendan Iribe for false designation.
An Oculus spokesperson told Polygon that ‘the heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor.’
The firm said it would appeal the verdict.
ZeniMax had alleged that video game designer John Carmack developed core parts of the Rift’s technology while working at a ZeniMax subsidiary.
Oculus hired Carmack in 2013.
Well-known for helping to conceive games such as ‘Quake’ and ‘Doom,’ Carmack worked for id Software LLC before that company was acquired by ZeniMax.
He is now the chief technology officer at Oculus.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg testified last month during the three-week trial that none of ZeniMax’s proprietary code was incorporated into the Rift.
The 32-year-old swapped his typical hoodie, gray T-shirt and jeans for a crisp business suit as he defended Facebook’s VR headset in a Dallas court today.
The lawsuit, filed in May 2014, alleges that former id Software co-founder John Carmack stole the firm’s intellectual property when he left the company to become Oculus’ chief technology officer in 2013.
Facebook shipped the first Oculus Rift headsets in March 2016 at a price of $599.
The billionaire told the court he had ‘never even heard of ZeniMax before’ and said his legal team would not be spending much time on something they didn’t think was credible.
Zenimax – the parent company of id Software which has produced iconic video games such as Doom – also claims Facebook purchased Oculus with ‘full awareness’ that Carmack allegedly stole the tech.
During opening remarks, a lawyer called it ‘one of the biggest technology heists ever.’
Facebook have denied all claims, and have stated that ZeniMax filed the suit as a ‘transparent attempt’ to profit from their purchase of Oculus.
The Facebook CEO also revealed for the first time that the company actually paid $3 billion to buy Oculus – rather than the widely reported figure of $2.3billion.
He said Facebook paid an additional $700 million to retain employees and another $300 million payout for hitting targets.
In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus VR, betting early on the future of virtual reality. But the firm is now being sued by ZeniMax, a rival software company, on claims of stolen technology and a false cover story
ZeniMax’s lawyer Tony Sammi asked Zuckerberg: ‘If you steal my bike, paint it, put a bell on it, does that make it your bike?’
To which Zuckerberg replied ‘no.’
He also pressed the billionaire for an answer as to why Carmack allegedly had code and more than 10,000 documents from his former company.
‘No, I wasn’t aware of that,’ Zuckerberg responded. ‘It’s something we should investigate.’
Zuckerberg also said that Carmack has not been disciplined over the allegations because ‘it would be wrong to discipline employees for claims that we believe are wrong.’
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