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1/10/2016 - News This Way Comes...

This week we learned the price of a our VR future and were not pleased in addition to more pleasant news.

January 3 - Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) kicked off another week of speedruns for charity. The week long marathon of speedruns of classic games raises awareness and funds for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The event is still live as of this writing and you can catch the broadcast on Twitch. If you missed the run of your favorite game and want to find the archive of the stream AGDQ has a Youtube channel also. Donations to the Prevent Cancer Foundation can be made through here.

January 5 - Reboot of the PS2 era cult Classic Amplitude released for sale on PS4 after being delayed. The kickstarter project from Rock Band creators Harmonix was released to backers last month and to the general public this week. Harmonix had pushed back the release several times after narrowly achieving the fundraising goal leading to worries that the game may be cancelled. Nice to see a struggling crowdfunding project actually make it and not just disappear.

And that about does it for this week right? Nothing else important happened. Have a good week, everybody...

January 6 - Of course the biggest news of the week was the opening of preorders for the Oculus Rift VR system and the subsequent revelation of the $599 price for the headset. The price includes the Oculus headset and remote (not the motion controllers which were recently delayed), an XBOX One gamepad, and two games: space shooter Eve: Valkyrie and 3D platformer Lucky’s Tale. In addition to the cost of the headset bundle Oculus released recommended specs for PCs running the device. Brace yourselves because they are demanding:

  • graphics card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater

  • memory: 8GB+ RAM

  • output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output

  • input: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port

  • operating system: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

The news sparked a bit of a backlash based, in part, on past statements from Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey that the headset would cost approximately $350. Statements for which Luckey has apologized in a post on Reddit.

Debate within the gaming community is still ongoing as to whether the $599 price is fair or not. Some see the price point unreasonably high or that the bundle is weighed down by devices that many people already own. Others see the price as reasonable based on the groundbreaking nature of the technology and compare the price to the launch of the iPhone and other similar high end devices. Personally, I fall into the later camp, but then my perspective on price might be skewed from a long retail career. For example, a store where I worked carried this $3700 espresso machine which I find much more shocking than $599 for an Oculus.

At any rate VR is still in its infancy so even if the Oculus is overpriced hopefully there's still time for a second generation course correction. 

The Oculus Rift will begin shipping March 28 this year. If you want one start saving because it's going to cost you.