When Oculus announced the final specification and launch details of Rift VR headset on CES 2016, the company also announced they will be returning to the carrying case in which Oculus shipped the first Development Kit (DK1). At the Game Developers Conference 2016, we visited the Oculus booth and saw the retail packaging live. First and foremost, materials are of premium quality, and you feel you’re getting your 600 USD worth. But no, you’re not getting the DK1’s protective box.
The box is actually bigger than the first or second developer kit (DK1, DK2 or Crescent Bay). The reason for that is simple – previous prototypes did not feature the final design of the tracking device, which is located on the right. As you can see, it requires an USB 3.0 connection to work. The box unfortunately, is premium profiled cardboard (original DK1 shipped in rugged plastic) with metal and a solid rope (handle).
The only really weird feeling is that the Rift uses no less than five different textures on the plastic used. Xbox One controller isn’t helping with two more. This actually shows that Rift is a first generation product and that the company is still a bit rough around the edges.
Still, if you are one of those 9,522 people that supported Oculus on Kickstarter – this is the second pack you will receive. In our conversations with Oculus representatives, they did hide their pride in bringing “a project to life that no one believed in.” To give context to this statement, you need to go back at the time when Palmer Luckey was everything but what his family name implies. He managed to assemble a very small team of people, but getting funding to make their vision a reality was a pipe dream. Similar to other hardware startups like, like Jan Goetgeluk’s Omni concept – Palmer could not get traction until crowdfunding and Kickstarter appeared on the market.
Oculus Rift does look premium, but does it justify an $599 price tag? Personally, I believe Oculus should have just recommended a game controller, and leave Microsoft’s Xbox One controller out (it has absolutely zero Oculus branding). That would bring the price down to $549.99, i.e. almost ten dollars less than the “$399.99” Sony PlayStation VR, which requires over $150 worth of add-on hardware (unless you bought those add-ons previously).