The lights are on
Oculus VR has secured another round of funding, this time in the amount of $75 million. The investment comes by way of Netscape founder (and mind behind the modern web browser) Marc Andreessen’s VC firm, Andreessen Horowitz.
The purpose of the funds is to allow Oculus to increase staffing in anticipation of a consumer model of the Rift. The new infusion is in addition to the $2.4 million raised via Kickstarter and $16 million in first-round venture capital funding.
We had the chance to speak with founder Palmer Luckey and vice president of product Nate Mitchell at Gamescom. Luckey explained to us his vision for pairing an Oculus unit with mobile. That concept attracted id Software co-founder John Carmack to first split his time between id and Oculus and then leave his old home.
“Over the past 16 months, we’ve grown from a start-up to a company whose virtual reality headset is poised to change the way we play, work and communicate,” Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said. “40,000 developers and enthusiasts, as well as a number of great partners, have joined our cause and helped us bring the seemingly impossible to life. This additional infusion of capital, as well as the leadership and experience of Marc Andreessen, will help us take the final steps toward our ultimate goal: making virtual reality something consumers everywhere can enjoy.”
Oculus VR hasn’t spoken definitively about a target date for a consumer release. When we spoke with Luckey and Mitchell at Gamescom, the duo suggested that the first consumer model wouldn’t be discounted from the current devkit price of $300. "I really think that the price of the HD developer kit could be under $100 in five years, price at market," Luckey told Game Informer. “But that doesn't mean the top of the line will be $100."
For more on Oculus VR, the company’s vision for mobile, the Oculus Share platform, and a glimpse into the design process, check out our interview from Gamescom.
[Source: Venture Beat]
Our TakeThis huge influx of funding will propel Oculus toward market. I would expect that 2015 will see the first units at a price point of $300. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationships and deals that could be struck to bring big publishers into the fold could enable Oculus to make the hardware a loss-leader (like almost every contemporary console).
Things are about to get even more interesting for Oculus. I’ve loved my experiences with the Rift and can’t wait to own one.