#Trending: The baffling lifecycle of VR headsets

What are you willing to pay for VR?
#Trending: VR's baffling lifecycle

The virtual reality race is heating up. PlayStation VR is barely out the door and HTC has already revealed new controllers for its Vive headset at its Steam Dev Days. Heck, Oculus Touch isn't even out yet but we came away from Oculus Connect 3 feeling surprisingly pleased after seeing the new standalone Santa Cruz device.

While we're plenty excited about the innovation, let's take a minute for all of that to sink in: new controllers, new headsets...more controllers. We've barely had a year with the devices already out, and both cost a pretty penny. Now it looks like we'll have to drop more money on new products. It may be awhile, but regardless, the upgrades are coming.

Essential reading: Best VR headsets

It's not a new concept. Like it or not, new tech comes out every year. But VR's been difficult to keep up with when it's offered in piecemeal causing the overall price to keep rising as devices continue to roll out.

That begs the question, how much are you willing to pay for virtual reality? For the early adopters, the answer is easy but for everyone else there's a gray area. With all the headset iterations, controller variations and extra bits to keep making the experience better, your wallet is sure to keep shrinking. The life cycle of VR is still up in the air and right now, it seems the only solution is to keep churning out new stuff - before anything's actually stuck.

WEAR - PlayStation VR

Of the big three VR brands, Sony has been the only company to bundle all its accessories for PS VR. And then it revealed two new PlayStation consoles. While the PS4 will run the VR headset perfectly fine, you can spend more money to get an even better machine to do the heavy lifting. Sony hasn't officially confirmed it, but there are whispers that the PS4 Pro option does an even better job running the graphics for VR. If you're willing to cough up another $399, your total Sony purchases would range around $800 and then some. So it may not be the most cost effective but at least you don't have to buy new iterations of the Move controllers or PS Eye, right?

NEARLY THERE - Oculus Rift

We already knew the $200 Oculus Touch controllers were going to be delayed from the very beginning. But we didn't know until later that an additional $79 sensor would enable room scale. That puts the total of an Oculus Rift headset plus its peripherals up to nearly $900 plus taxes.

However we don't see Oculus making brand new controllers since it has spent such a long time honing Touch. If anything, the teams will focus on the standalone device. Details are scarce on Santa Cruz but it seems like you won't need a PC for it to function. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pointed out, this puts it in its own category, and places it outside of the Rift's lifecycle. That means Oculus probably won't be pushing more tech in your face in the near future. Probably.


When we first heard about the new controllers, we almost didn't believe it. It's surprisingly early to begin modifications on the controllers - almost as if the ones that have been released weren't really the final consumer devices. After all, what's HTC and Valve going to do? Release a whole new headset with the controllers? It's more likely that the new controllers will be bundled with new base stations next year and then we'll see an head mounted display the year after. If Oculus Touch is going for over $100, you can bet your bottom that the refreshed Vive controllers will cost a lot despite Valve's discount claims. That's a lot of money right there at $800 and counting for the whole setup.

Shop for VR headsets on Amazon

Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift
PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR
HTC Vive
HTC Vive
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR

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  • lexinonline says:

    SONY virtual display products are used to play games, I think it's too expensive, I am a girl, I usually watch 3D VR movie by SVPRO VR display, when I'm traveling, I can also take the SVPRO VR Camera to record the beautiful scenery.

  • yogibimbi says:

    Yeah, everybody taking a page from Apple's playbook, kicking the specs up ever so slightly, holding back on everything that would be doable for the sake of pushing out evolutionary updates that convince a majority of us suckers (well, not me, actually, because I am on the Android bandwagon, and currently on a 3-year renewal cycle) to cough up the green for every minor upgrade just that one added feature is THE one they held back when everybody already wanted it. Cue in memory upgrades (but still no expansion slots on the iPhones) and yeah. Seems VR is still trying to speed that up, so I'll lean back and watch in awe. Buy, suckers, buy! I just bought Sony shares a week ago!

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