Kickstarter units of the highly anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset began shipping on Monday, much to the tech community’s delight. While the newly available headset is priced a bit on the high side at $600 (users will also need a powerful computer), most groundbreaking technologies debut at a price that only appeals to a small demographic. As adoption spreads and the technology is further developed, the price will come down.
Oculus became a leader in the VR space relatively quickly. Founded in 2012 by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, the company promptly completed one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, raising just shy of $2.5 million for the development of its headset. Investors took notice and Oculus secured a total of $91 million in VC funding from top-tier firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund, before being acquired by Facebook in 2014 for more than $2 billion. Prior to the acquisition, Oculus had garnered a $287 million valuation with a $75 million Series B round in 2013.
As the most awaited virtual reality product to date, Oculus Rift's success can have major implications for the VR industry and investment into the space. It's time to see if Facebook’s big bet on Oculus, and virtual reality, will pay off.