With the revived VR coming to PCs, there seems to be an additional bonus that has been added to computer bundles: VR Inclusion. An example of this type of bonus comes with the HP Vive Ready package. This is both a good thing and a bad thing for the computer world, but let’s delve into why.

The Good

First of all, this is good for anyone who does any type of computer work, or play, because it means there’s an easy solution for those that are not technically inclined when it comes to computers. This is the next step of the working environment when it comes to computerized work and, with the addition of computerized interviews, this seems to be where the next step of the workforce is located.

For anyone who has spent any amount of time on the internet, they will have undoubtedly come across the PC Master Race idealism among gamers. Don’t confuse this with the end of consoles, because it is doubtful individuals will give up the low price point that consoles offer on their own plus the exclusive titles that come with that console. What is more likely to happen is that people will have a shared gaming experience when it comes to these video games because you can only make VR look so real before it becomes pointless.

The Bad

I’m old enough that I remember the Dreamcast and PlayStation 3 price fail, which resulted in the death of the Dreamcast. PlayStation 3 came out on the market at around the same price of a computer and many simply didn’t want to spend that much money. Until PlayStation came up with a way to make the console more incentivising, the company lost tons of money because of the high price point. It is simply too early to offer PC bundles at this point because many simply can’t afford a high-end computer, let alone the full high-end VR set that it takes to get into the VR world. Let’s take a look at the HP VR Ready computer. These are rough estimates on prices I believe it would take to build their computer:

  • Radeon RX 480: $270
  • Intel® Core™ i5-6400 : $200
  • 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM: $70
  • Motherboard: Unknown, but I’d guess around $50 as that’s the standard price of a motherboard that would support the core, RAM, and graphics card.
  • PSU: $80
  • DVD Burner: $20
  • Windows 10 Home: Free, for now
  • Case: It looks like a case that would cost around $80
  • 128 SSD: $50
  • 1TB HDD: $50

What does that come out to for just the computer? $870. How much does the Vive cost? $800. My estimates show that it should cost around $1,670 in order to build it yourself. Their estimate is just $29, to date, more than mine so the price tag is generally accurate in how much it would cost to build it yourself. You are saving about $200 by going with the HP model, which is something I find surprising. However, companies do not realize that this price tag is what the majority of gamers would spend on a car, not a gaming system. VR is currently for those who can review such systems, who test such systems, and those who can merely afford such systems. This is not a product that has a price point meant for the mass population, which hurts prospective markets when you try to launch a product that doesn’t have a lot of gain for the price right now.

The Better Way

PlayStation made a smart grab by making a headset that ran off of their older equipment, which are a lot more affordable than the current VR equipment. The headset pack is generally $500 for the camera, headset, motion sticks, and maybe a game. The PlayStation 4 is around $300 right now across many areas. That’s $800 altogether, but most individuals looking into PS VR already have a PS4. This is better because it provides VR to a platform that is standardized and already ready for mass production. Not only that, but it’s nearly half the price.

HP is making a play for a very niche part of the market: those who don’t own a PS4 or a high-end PC already. The VR sellers should try to make a play like that of PlayStation, which is to sell to the average consumer. There will always be developers and gamers who want to make the very best, but, just like the consoles, there will always be a downgraded version of it.