Big news for cash-strapped gamers: the HTC Vive is taking a permanent $200 price cut, bringing its retail price down to $599 from $799. The move is meant to make VR more accessible to the average consumer, according to Vive US general manager Dan O’Brien. “We want to really significantly boost VR adoption now across the globe. We think now is the right time to reset the price,” said O’Brien to The Verge. The price cut comes right before the 2017 holiday season is set to begin, so folks can better budget their holiday spending if the Vive is something they’ve been wanting. While it’s still not as low as the Oculus Rift’s $499 price tag, it definitely brings the Vive’s price more in line with other offerings in the VR market.
The price cut is also intended to make accessory purchases easier on consumers’ wallets, and it shouldn’t be regarded as a precursor to a new round of hardware. “This is not about clearing the channel to make room for another product. We do expect this version of Vive to stay in market well into 2018,” O’Brien said. Purchasers of the Vive will also get a free trial of the Viveport Subscription, which allows consumers to choose up to five games per month to try plus copies of popular VR experiences like “Everest VR.”
While the Rift may seem like the better option due to price, it should be noted that to enable room-scale tracking, you’ll need to buy another sensor for $59, bringing the price for comparable hardware within $40 of the HTC Vive’s price. Polygon reached out to Viveport to ask if the Vive’s price change was done in reaction to the Rift’s, but president of Viveport Rikard Steiber didn’t think so. “I think we are the leader in the market, and the plan was always that high-end VR be available to everyone,” Steiber said. “So of course there are a couple of components that need to fall into place…in order to reach the mass market, you need to have a lower price point. That’s been the plan all along. I think it’s good that other players in the market are making similar moves.”