Oculus' recent price cut to its Rift virtual reality headset as part of its Summer of Rift sale may be actually doing more harm than good, says research firm SuperData.
Oculus dropped the price of its Rift + Touch bundle by another £200 in the UK on Monday, taking the price to just £399 for both the headset and its motion-tracking controllers. That's just £50 more expensive than Sony's PlayStation VR, making it significantly cheaper than its main rival, the HTC Vive.
The price cut will only be in effect for six weeks as part of the company's Summer of Rift sale, but SuperData's VP of research and strategy and head of VR/AR strategy Stephanie Llamas has told MCV that "by constantly cutting the device's price, consumers are left with an unfavourable perception of the headset."
She added: "If it's that much cheaper than Vive, consumers are going to wonder why and how."
Admittedly, Oculus has a fair amount of catching up to do, says Llamas. "SuperData’s Q1 sales figures for 2017 found that Oculus sold only 65,000 units whereas the Vive moved 95,000 units during the same time period.
However, when neither Vive or PlayStation has adjusted their respective prices yet, it suggests "a lack of confidence" from Oculus about their own offering.
"The price cut may boost sales in the short-term," she says, "but consumers are on a spectrum: those who want something that’s plug-and-play will likely go with PSVR whereas the invested and tech-savvy consumer is going to go for (or already has gone for) what is assumed to be the highest quality – the Vive.
"VR isn’t mature enough yet to cater to a diverse audience, so those who do know about it know which side of the spectrum they are on and aren’t lingering somewhere in the middle, especially considering most people don’t really understand what VR is."