For the most part, Steam's sales are a way to get a bunch of games for less than $15, but this time the company is doing something different.
Sure, there are still plenty of great deals on games such as the Final Fantasy series, Mafia III, and so on, but the company is also offering a discount on the HTC Vive VR headset. While it is facing some competition from the Oculus Rift and others, the Vive is still one of the best VR headsets in the market.
The Vive normally retails for $800, but during the Steam summer sale, it will be discounted by $50 bringing the price down to $750. It's not a huge discount by any means, but it does come with a $50 steam gift card. It certainly isn't in impulse buy territory, but if someone is considering of buying a Vive at some point, this is a good time to do it. In addition to the hardware, the Vive headset will also come with Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Richie's Plank Experience, and Everest VR, and a month's membership to HTC's subscription service.
In terms of sales, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has said that the Vive is outselling the Oculus Rift by a margin of two to one. This sale, while minor, may be enough to help Vive maintain its edge in the marketplace. The Vive's numbers are likely bolstered by Valve's strong support for the platform which includes a number of discounted titles during the summer sale.
Barriers To Entry
Price aside, there are still reasons that consumers would pass on the Vive. One of the most compelling is the fact that the device isn't of much use without a very powerful PC. In addition, users will need other equipment to take advantage of all of the Vive's features.
Overall, VR is still a long way away from becoming as common as video games due to a few major obstacles. In order to overcome its obstacles, it will need to become much cheaper than it currently is. Even at this discounted price, it is out of the reach of many consumers. The second major hurdle facing VR is the fact that many require a powerful PC to use. While companies are making progress in this regard, the reliance on a powerful PC will ensure VR remains a niche product.
Despite these issues, VR is making inroads, but whether or not it will ever become truly ubiquitous remains to be seen.