The Oculus Rift has finally launched after years of hype, and with it many reviews from people who had the opportunity to play with it early. Unfortunately, some of the reviews were pretty harsh.
Despite the hype, analysts have been growing skeptical that this will be the breakout year for virtual reality that everyone had anticipated with the release of Oculus Rift, a virtually reality device owned by Facebook Inc
“Oculus Rift is the 2016 product you hope your neighbor buys,” The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler said in his review. “You’ll definitely want to try it, but there is little reason to own one unless you’re a serious gamer.”
The skepticism has been routed in the fact that headsets are still very clunky and overpriced. The Rift must be used with a pricey gaming console — the best of which recommended by the company is called Asus and retails for about $1,500, Fowler says. The technology has yet to prove itself beyond a niche gaming market, despite sweeping claims from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, that it will one day change the way people communicate.
Engadget reviewer Devindra Hardawar harped on the $599 retail price. “After spending a week with the Oculus Rift, I have no doubt that its approach to virtual reality is indeed the real deal,” he said. “The only problem: It is $600 and requires a powerful gaming PC.”
USA Today’s Edward Baig was much more complimentary, saying: “It makes you feel like you’re actually in a new world.” But even he questioned “whether the high price tag is justified.”
The critiques follow comments from Forrester Research analyst JP Gowner earlier this month, who said the vast majority of consumers aren’t ready for virtual reality yet, “don’t know or care about” it, and won’t know or care” about it in 2016 unless they are “hard-core gamers.”
First-generation devices, however, tend to have bumpy launches, and reviewers say there is no question future iterations of these devices will prove more revolutionary and appeal to a broader, and more mainstream, audience.
Forrester believes virtual reality will eventually find its place “in the pantheon of important computing platforms,” but believes the technology needs to advance more and that companies need to do a better job of proving the technology’s long-term use before it can go mainstream. The first-generation PlayStation VR and HTC Vive are expected later this year.
TechCrunch reviewer Lucas Matney called Oculus Rift “the most momentous product launch of the decade.” Engadget’s Hardawar said that it “has the potential to change the world,” but at this early stage, “only few can afford it.”
Shares of Facebook closed 0.6% higher to $113.69 on Monday. They are up 7.3% over the last three months and 36.5% over the last 12 months, outperforming the S&P 500, which is down 1% on the last three months and 1.1% on the year.
Earlier on Monday, Evorecore analyst Ken Sena raised his price target on Facebook’s stock to $150. The average target on the stock among a poll of nearly 20 analysts is $133.38, according to FactSet.
Source: Market Watch