We still don’t know when the Oculus Rift will be available for consumers, but Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey has given would-be customers something to smile about: he doesn’t want to make any money off the headsets.
“We’re going to be selling it at cost,” Luckey recently told Stuff. “Whatever it costs us to make, that is what we’re going to sell it for.”
Luckey’s rational for putting off profit in the short-term is fairly obvious. Now that the company is part of Facebook, it has all the financial backing it could ever ask for.
“If we were running purely on our own and trying to make money just from hardware, we would need to make enough profit from each unit to pay for running the company for several years, until we launched the next one,” said Luckey.
There’s more than one way for Luckey to profit from the Oculus Rift. Instead of jacking up the price of the hardware, he could pursue licensing fees from game developers, a popular business model for console makers like Sony and Microsoft.
Luckey is confident that the company will have games to show off next year.
“You’ll definitely see some demos from our studios by next E3,” he said.
Oculus hopes to develop its own games and publish content from other studios. The amount of outside content the company publishes will determine whether or not Luckey is pursuing the console business model.
Even so, there are other ways for Oculus VR to profit off of the Rift. Luckey has considered the headset’s potential to replace traditional TVs.
“I think that VR has the capability to replace almost all the screens we use on a daily basis,” he said.
As a replacement for our TVs and phones, Oculus could ostensibly profit as an advertising company, though some were quick to dismiss this theory after it was acquired by Facebook.
We’ll have to wait until the headset is released to the public before we get a better sense of how Oculus might make money. Don’t hold your breath, though, because Luckey seems indifferent to the sensation the Rift has created.
“I just really don’t care if people want it sooner, because we have to do it right, not soon,” he said.