A Free Oculus Rift? More Possible Than You Might Think

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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A Free Oculus Rift? More Possible Than You Might Think

One of the great policies of economics comes in the form of an acronym. It's called “TANSTAAFL,” and it traces all the way back to the 1930s, though its first appearance is lost to history. Popularized by Robert Heinlein's novel “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” it stands for “There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch,” and implies that getting something for nothing just doesn't happen.

There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but if Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe has his way, there may one day be free Oculus Rift hardware. One of the company's goals, according to Iribe, is to get the price of an Oculus Rift down to the lowest levels possible once it finally gets available for sale.

This is being done to reduce the number of barriers of entry for users and make the target market as broad as possible, even by pulling parts of competitors' markets. This at least resembles a version of a classic marketing strategy known as “market penetration,” in which measures are taken to attract both non-users as well as users of comparable products.

Right now, the Oculus Rift is anything but free, only available as a $300 developer's kit. $300 is also the current target price when the device goes to full retail, so looking for these to come out free any time soon is probably just a pleasant idea that will never actually strike. But that isn't stopping Oculus VR from considering different strategies to reach its goal, even if it may never actually get there.

An inexpensive Oculus Rift would doubtless be a treat, and the kind of thing that's a worthwhile goal no matter if it ever hits. Ask the gaming community if it would pay $50 for one, and the answer would likely be an overwhelming yes. Comparable prices to a monitor? Certainly. While $300 might scare away some more frugal gamers, some would certainly be interested, especially given how well the devices have been seen to do so far. Indeed, Oculus VR has plenty of options; consider the idea of approaching hardware makers about bundling and the like. Offering a free Oculus Rift with a laptop might really perk up the buyers who have limited space but still want a big gaming experience. Microsoft would likely enjoy having the Oculus Rift along for the Xbox One, and so too Sony with the PlayStation 4.

Oculus VR has more than enough options to make its dream come true; it only remains to be seen just which of these options will prove to work. Only time will tell just how the Oculus Rift gets to the gaming public, who will likely be overjoyed to see it when it hits.
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