Facebook is slashing the price of its VR headset again

Mark zuckerberg oculus riftFacebook/Tech InsiderFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wearing the Oculus Rift with touch controllers.

Facebook is once again cutting the price of its high-end Oculus Rift virtual reality headset amidst heated competition from HTC, Sony, and others.

For the next six weeks, Facebook-owned Oculus VR is lowering the combined price of its Rift headset and touch controllers from $US600 to $US400. The new price point matches Sony’s PlayStation VR headset, which has quickly emerged as the early leader in the race to bring VR to the masses.

Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin told Business Insider that the Rift’s reduced price is intended to attract less avid gamers who are reluctant to spend a lot of money on high-end VR.

“We know that hardware moves at that price point,” said Rubin.

Sony announced in February that it had sold 925,000 units of its PlayStation VR headset. Oculus has yet to disclose sales of its headset, but third-party estimates show that Rift sales have fallen well behind Sony and the HTC Vive.

Facebook kicked off the tech industry’s push into VR with its purchase of Oculus for $US2 billion in 2014. Since then, a string of production setbacks, management shakeups, and a $US500 million lawsuit with game maker ZeniMax have plagued Oculus. Cofounder Palmer Luckey recently departed Oculus after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hired Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra to lead the company’s VR efforts.

Despite the setbacks, Rubin said that Facebook still sees itself as the leader in commercialising VR. It plans to spend roughly $US1 billion on funding games and apps for the Oculus ecosystem.

“In the long run, we believe we will get to a space where VR is mass market,” he said. “It’s going to take a while, but we’re heading in the right direction.”

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