One of the major problems of the virtual reality industry is the high cost of entry for consumers. In the case of PC-powered virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, customers not only have to shell out for the headset but also for a high-end PC that is powerful enough to support them.
Previously, PCs that are able to support the Oculus Rift will cost nearly $1,000, bringing the total package of a PC and the virtual reality headset to about $1,500. However, with the help of a new feature that was recently launched by Oculus, the cost of entry has now dipped significantly to as low as $1,100.
Meet CyberPowerPC's Gamer Ultra VR Tower
Oculus, AMD, and CyberPowerPC have unveiled the Gamer Ultra VR desktop PC, which makes the entry into the virtual reality industry more affordable for gamers.
If bought by itself, the Gamer Ultra VR tower carries a price tag of $649.99. However, the PC is currently being offered in a bundle on Best Buy that packages it with the Oculus Rift for a price tag of $1,099.98. With the Oculus Rift being sold at $600, the bundle effectively sets the price of the Gamer Ultra VR desktop PC at only about $500.
The specifications for the Gamer Ultra VR desktop PC include a quad-core AMD FX 4350 CPU and Radeon RX 470 4 GB GPUs. The computer also packs 8 GB DDR3 of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive at 7,200 RPM, three USB 3.0 ports, and seven USB 2.0 ports.
The Lowered Cost Of Virtual Reality PCs
The reduction in the price of PCs that can support virtual reality can be partly attributed to the decreasing price tag of CPUs and GPUs as they spend more time in the market. However, a bigger reason for the lower barrier of entry into virtual reality is the Asynchronous Spacewarp technology that Oculus announced back in October 2016.
Asynchronous Spacewarp helps reduce dropped frames to keep content at 90 frames per second, even on PCs that are less in cost compared to the computers previously used in virtual reality. PCs that are only capable of running content at 45 frames per second will be boosted to run the required 90 frames per second for virtual reality through the feature.
The $500 PC by CyberPowerPC was already hinted at the Oculus announcement, and the PC is now available for customers who can finally afford to jump into the virtual reality scene.
Other Virtual Reality Options
There are several other alternatives for customers to get into virtual reality aside from PC-powered virtual reality headsets. The PlayStation VR, along with the PlayStation 4, will only cost about $750 in total, while smartphone-based virtual reality devices such as the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View also carry price tags that are much more affordable than the Oculus Rift.
However, the Oculus Rift and the Gamer Ultra VR will be able to offer a more immersive virtual reality experience to users due to the better visuals offered by a PC-powered headset. In addition, with Oculus finally releasing the Oculus Touch motion controllers, the experience is made even more interactive and engaging.