How Much to Play EVE Valkyrie?

So the big news yesterday, I suppose, was the opening of the Occulus Rift pre-orders and how much the unit costs.

The magic number is $599… plus sales tax (varies by location, but for me it adds up to $50) and $30 shipping.  Call it a round $680.

For that sum… which is more than a PlayStation 4 and a couple games… or more that a Wii U and every good game for the platform… you will get:

  • the headset
  • a head-tracking camera
  • an Xbox One controller
  • the Oculus remote
  • the cables to hook it up, a spiffy carrying case, and two included games: space shooter
  • the game Eve Valkyrie, a cool space shooter
  • the game Lucky’s Tale, a platformer
Not picture, spiffy carrying case

Not picture, spiffy carrying case

Of course various forums on the internet exploded with unhappy reactions to that price point. (Though, if you backed the Kickstarter at the right level, you were probably pretty happy.  Good for you if you backed it at the right time.)

Personally, I wasn’t all that shocked by the price point despite past price estimates. (Though clearly many felt otherwise.) I’ve done hardware projects before. This is the first run of the hardware, this new hardware has to be very good to get people to accept VR as more than a gimmick, the hardware itself is unique and complex (as noted by the team, as they apologize for the price yet again), and they have to hand a bit of money to the software devs for the bundled items.  It was going to be a big ticket item.  Likely, a year or two from now there will be a cost reduced version with a more efficient manufacturing process and likely no controller or remote for less.

Which doesn’t mean that I am going to run out and pre-order.  I played EVE Valkyrie at EVE Vegas and it looked really good… but not $680 good.  I was actually a little worried that CCP was going to try to extract a bit more money from people with the EVE Valkyrie Founder Pack they started talking about yesterday, but that appears to be included with the pre-order.

Founders Pack with the pre-order...

Founders Pack with the pre-order…

We’ll see when that becomes an extra-cost option, but for now it is just another incentive to pre-order today.

Of course, $680 might not be the only expense you’ll incur getting into virtual reality.  Your computer also has to be up to snuff with the following requirements:

  • Video Card NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

I happen to be in luck for most of those requirements.  When my power supply zapped my computer, taking out most everything directly connected to it, I ended up getting an Intel i5-4590 for the replacement.  I am also good on the operating system, RAM, and USB ports.

The video card though, there I come up short.  A quick search on nVidia GTX 970 shows that to be a $300+ investment which, with sales tax and shipping, puts the whole bill for playing EVE Valkyrie past the $1,000 mark for me.

That is way too rich for my blood, even if I can use it with Elite: Dangerous as well.

That price, for all the loud complaints it has yielded, doesn’t seem to be hurting the popularity of the pre-orders.  The quote at the top of the post is unironically true in its own way.  I saw somebody from the team state that they sold more in the first ten minutes than they thought would go in the first hour.  Meanwhile, later in the day, I saw somebody a bit annoyed that the ship date on their pre-order was slated for June, the queue presumably having eaten up all the March, April, and May dates.

For me though, the VR experience will likely be limited to the Google Cardboard set that the guy in the cube across from me has for some time to come.

10 thoughts on “How Much to Play EVE Valkyrie?

  1. zaphod6502

    I pre-ordered about 6 hours after the opening and mine is listed as shipping under the May allotment.

    There has been a lot of grumbling about price but when you add the development costs plus they are using some very expensive OLED displays it is understandable. There is a lot of technology and newly invented techniques under the hood and that all costs time and money to develop.

    This is a groundbreaking product and Oculus want to get it right the first time. As a current DK2 user I am very excited to finally see this product in final release and can’t wait to get my hands on the production unit.

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  2. Jeromai

    Standard perils for early adoption. Luckily there are a decent number of rich people or niche fanatics willing to pay a bundle to be first.

    The whales can beta test for the rest of us poorer folk (as long as we’re nice about admiring them for their being first) and we can get it when it’s more mainstream and has dropped to a more mass market price point.

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  3. Knug

    Compare it to the latest iPAD or iPhone, and its not that outrageous. Now folks will say that an ipad or iphone is more useful – I don’t disagree. However, it is exactly analogous to having an iphone 5 and getting and iphone 6, just because. You have a console (or two) already. The question is about staying on the bleeding edge. The delta costs are quite comporable, considering the delta in usage. In fact, I’d say the jump from a wii or ps4 to the rift is much more dramatic than the iphone 5 to iphone 6 (note, I don’t own an iphone, so I may have botched the generational names)

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Knug – Heh, you’re talking to somebody with a $15 pre-paid cell phone on an $80 a year plan… but I get what you mean. I had to upgrade my wife from an iPhone 4S to a 6 when they came out.

    And like I said, the hardware price didn’t really phase me given what I’ve read about it, it just isn’t a price I am personally willing to pay. In a few years when they have ramped up production, brought down costs, and fixed whatever horrible first generation flaws that are bound to crop up and I’ll likely be on board. For a flight sim being able to turn your head to view things is pretty awesome.

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  5. Do Little

    As someone who remembers gamers lining up to spend that much for Voodoo cards to play Quake II in the mid ’90s it isn’t surprising. Most hobbies will cost you a lot more.

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  6. SynCaine

    I hope this entire thing is a success, not so much because I’m dying for VR, but because if something like this is successful, it will cause major waves in gaming and get us a lot of new and interesting stuff. Gaming needs that right now, badly.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Do Little – I bought one of those Voodoo cards… actually, I waited for the Voodoo2.

    And there is a certain amount of milking the early adopters present I am sure. Way back in the day I worked for the company that made the first 9600bps modem for the initial Apple PowerBook laptop computers. List price at launch: $795. We couldn’t make enough.

    I think a modem chipset costs about 25 cents now and has about 50 other features, like Caller ID, bundled in.

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  8. bhagpuss

    It’s interesting to me that everyone is currently looking at VR from the point of view of gaming. As has been widely observed the entire concept has considerable synergies with activities that replicate sitting in a chair and not so many with ones that rely on moving about, so vehicles sims of most kinds (spaceships included) look like a win whereas swashbuckling adventure looks iffy at best.

    The question isn’t going to be how much it costs but how appealing the entertainment on offer is. I can see a big future for virtual tourism, for both recorded and live broadcast of sporting events, concerts, public events, and for narrative entertainment that puts the user in the middle of the action as an observer rather than a participant. 360 degree passive entertainment, in other words. If the content is there for that then i could easily see people paying $1000 for a system – that’s comparable with other forms of home entertainment.

    Anything that requires people to jump around and wave their arms while wearing a headset that blocks their vision of the real world is going to be a very hard sell indeed to a mainstream audience. At any price.

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  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – “Everyone” being the gamers on gaming blogs talking about a VR device heavily pitched towards gaming?

    It is an expensive and limited technology that needs a “killer app” to get it into enough hands to make it viable for a wider range of applications. The same thing happened, as noted above, with 3D accelerated video cards. My wife was helping somebody remodel their home a couple years back and got an program that let her model the house and fixtures and what not in 3D. That wouldn’t have been possible had 3D accelerated video cards not simply become the norm. 20 years ago such cards were rare toys. There was a great outcry when it was announced that to get all the graphic effects for the then just announced Diablo II you might have to have such a card. After Tribes and Quake and Unreal and EverQuest, not having such a card was kind of odd.

    As for applications, I was going to comment on Syp’s post where he was turning up his nose at the whole thing by pointing out that he doesn’t really play games that would benefit from the device, which makes his post come off for me like somebody showing disdain for a new advance in chainsaw technology when they don’t actually cut wood.

    If I were heavily into Elite: Dangerous or high end flight sims, I might be counting my pennies and trying to figure out how to pay for one right now. Being able to move your head and look around a cockpit is huge in that domain. There was a sidebar article about how Oculus Rift is driving flight stick sales, because once you cannot see the real world, you need controls that you can work by feel. But for what I play now it would be mostly a gimmick.

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