2016 has been the year of virtual reality, with all three major VR platforms releasing this year.
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are already circulating around the world and content is being created for the platforms at an impressive rate.
Many South Africans are excited to get their hands on an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and join the rest of the world in experiencing the future of gaming. However, the cost of good PC components and hardware make virtual reality an expensive pipe-dream for most gamers.
Although the local pricing of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hasn’t been released yet, the international price of the cheaper platform is $600 – which at the time of writing translates to around R8,750.
In addition to the cost of a virtual reality platform, gamers may need to invest in PC components or a whole new rig in order to use a VR headset.
The cost of VR-Ready PC components
Below are the Oculus Rift’s hardware requirements, which will also be suitable for the Vive headset:
- Intel Core i5 4590 equivalent or greater
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
- 8GB RAM
- 2x USB 3.0 port
- HDMI 1.3
- Windows 7 OS or greater
VR ready PCs listed on the Oculus Rift website are priced at a minimum of around $1,000, which does not bode well for the pricing of local machines.
To get an idea of what South African customers will be spending on VR-Ready machines, we found the cheapest components available which met the Oculus Rift’s requirements.
The components below represent the cheapest VR-Ready components that are still reliable and of decent quality. Pricing from a variety of sources were considered, including Evetech, Rebeltech, Wootware, and Raru.
|VR-Ready PC Components|
|Motherboard||MSI Z97 Guard-Pro ATX||R1,723|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 4590||R3,897|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia Geforce GTX 970||R5,599|
|Memory||Kingston Value 8GB DDR4 2,133 MHz||R626|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master B 500W Ver. 2||R774|
|Case||Bitfenix Comrade ATX White Windowed||R532|
Total Price: R13,151
The above desktop includes all the essential components required to use the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, not including software or peripherals.
Although the overall build is still relatively expensive, it is not as costly as the rigs listed by Oculus. It must be noted that the above build is designed as a low-cost computer and would not have as many features as a more expensive desktop.
Considering the international price of the Rift and the local price of a budget VR-Ready PC, the cost of both an Oculus Rift and a VR-Ready PC in South Africa is estimated at around R22,000.