A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkerer..

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Brandon9271
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A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkerer..

Post by Brandon9271 »

I LOVE to tinker and hack things together and I also love 3D gaming and VR. I understand that the Rift is not a commercial product but I'd love to get one to tinker with. From the Kickstarter it looks like 4500+ Rift dev kits have been "sold". Do you guys think that many developers are supporting this or is it lots of folks from the "maker" crowd (like myself) as Carmack mentioned? Do you guys think that in addition to major devs and indies devs there will be a community of modders and enthusiast who get these? From the numbers on kickstarter I think that's likely, but just curious what you guys think. I'm a hardware person myself but getting one of these may finally motivate me to learn C++ or C#/XNA.

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cybereality
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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by cybereality »

I bet most of the backers are developers of some sort. Probably some pros, but I bet its mostly hobbyists and VR enthusiasts. Of course there are likely some non-developers who just saw the videos and think its cool, but I think they are a minority.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by brantlew »

I think the first 1000 or so units were mostly people that were waiting for it on day 1 and are the type of people that will develop with it and/or mod it. But I actually think a significant chunk of the people since then are just tech-lovers or gamers. There are tons of tech-lusty people out there with deep pockets that will buy all kinds of gadgets. I know guys who own high powered lasers, AIBO robots, every single version of the iPhone and iPad, etc.. that they barely use and don't need. At $300, the kit is so cheap that even casual tech-geeks can check it out just to play Doom and experience VR. I actually think it was a mistake to sell it so cheap because it may have attracted too many casual buyers. Anybody that is serious about HMD's and VR would have bought the kit at $500, and the profits could have been used to fund Oculus.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by Fredz »

Personaly I don't have a problem with the kit being cheap if that doesn't hurt production, which shouldn't be the case as Palmer said recently. More end-users buying it means more testers for what developers can come with, and more motivation for hobbyist developers since more people will be interested in what they're doing. I'm a developer myself and I'm not sure I would have bought one if it did cost more than $500.

Brandon9271
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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by Brandon9271 »

Well its good news if a majority of the backers are devs because that means more content and more content mean more reason for consumers to buy the hardware.. which then give devs and publishers more incentives to support Rift. That means mainstream VR gaming finally becoming a reality..i hope :)

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by brantlew »

Even if they can support a huge batch of orders easily, it would have made a lot of sense to take the profit and fund a portion of Oculus using Kickstarter funds. I have no idea of what their internal financial and funding situation is, but whether Oculus gets their seed money via "angel investors" or VC's, those entities always acquire a bit of control of the company. Kickstarter money is the best because it's essentially a donation and the contributors gain no stock or control of the company. The more money Palmer can self fund this way the better, because he maintains creative and strategic control. And it's in all of our best interests if Palmer maintains control of Oculus because he is a die-hard idealist when it comes to VR and will always make decisions to better the VR experience and make it accessible to everyone. This is one of those situation where a capitalist outlook really does work in everyone's best interest. If Oculus is self sufficient and wildly successful (financially) then it improves VR for everyone. The same cannot necessarily be said if another controlling interest or a different company is holding the reins.

Brandon9271
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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by Brandon9271 »

Well hopefully they've made some great deals with parts suppliers to make these for cheap enough to make a decent profit.. or they took a gamble at breaking even to create hype and get as many developers as possible on board . Then worry about making profit with the commercial product.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by ElecTriX »

IF they get $5 per backer on production-cost on every item (t-shirt, poster and RIFT);
I have also taken the smallet pledge when counting ($10 is counted as $10 but could also be $11-$14)

Edit: It could also be anything at all, example; You can pledge $1000 and still only choose a t-shirt
But I think it's not many people that would do that.
  • $10 or more - $7250 (a sincere thank you)
    $15 or more Poster - $865 (with $10 reduced for production cost per backer)
    $25 T-shirt - $1595 (with $20 reduced for production-cost per backer)
    $35 T-shirt + poster - $680 (with $20 reduced for T-shirt and $10 reduced for poster per backer)
    $75 T-shirt + poster - $3870 (same as above)
    $275 Unassembled Rift - $500 (with $270 reduced per backer for production-cost)
    $300 Assembled Rift - $19290 (with $295 reduced per backer for production-cost)
Total: $34050

And that is without the even higher levels of rewards.
Of course I don't know the production cost of the t-shirt, poster or both versions of Rift, I'm only guessing there.. :)

Then I don't know the costs of the Kickstarter, production-cost of the video / fees for kickstarter and also taxes?

I really hope that they get at least $5 or more after production cost per backer and use it for reasearch and salaries.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by brantlew »

Don't forget about things like office space and equipment and all the PR they are doing right now. Palmer is running the conference circuit right - even modest booths, hotels, flights, and traveling expenses for these conferences takes 10's of thousands of dollars. And then of course salaries for a whole team of people. At their burn rate right now, 34K would only last them a few days.

They must have acquired a significant seed investment before the Kickstarter just to get it to that level of polish and to make long term plans for the consumer version. So the ink was already dry on the deal when the Kickstarter exploded. But just imagine if they could put half of the Kickstarter funds into Oculus. Lets say 4000 units * $200 profit = $800,000 of donated investment ! That would have been a great deal for Oculus and might have floated them through the end of the year. Plus they could have used the success of the Kickstarter as a way to increase the valuation of the company stock and get better terms on whatever additional funding they need for next year.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by cybereality »

@brantlew: I hear what you are saying, but I have a feeling Palmer knows what he is doing. Seems to me that whatever deals he's made will carry him through the commercial version next year and the cheap price on the Kickstarter is just his gift to the community. Certainly people like me (or some other die-hards) would have easily paid $500 or even a lot more for a headset like this. Well, I actually did pledge for $500. But there are probably many more others that couldn't afford it. The cheap price also gets more press and supporters and makes for a better story. So I can see why Palmer did it this way.

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Re: A question from a potential Rift early adopter / tinkere

Post by wuliheron »

I think the Rift will be hugely popular with modders and tinkers everywhere. It's a whole new dimension in immersion the vast majority of people have never experienced and all in a cheap package. People are already debating simple things like what is the best gun placement for shooters and how to inexpensively improve on the head tracking. It seems modders, tinkers, and professionals alike will be spending many years to come just trying to improve on the basics. Palmer says he was one of those kids who took apart everything in the house trying figure out how it works and I'm sure the most flattering legacy he can have is to inspire others to do the same.

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