Virtual reality makers gear up to create ‘rift’ for the masses

The heat is slowly picking up in the burgeoning VR gaming market and Indian VR players are set to jump on the bandwagon. The $599 Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) device is now being shipped. The $799 high-end HTC Vive is set to hit the global market later this year and Sony’s $399 fully-immersive PlayStation VR is scheduled to launch this October.

Domestic handset maker Karbonn Mobiles forayed into the VR field with two low-cost VR glasses-equipped smartphones last week. While the Karbonn Quattro L52 smartphone VR device is priced at Rs.8,490, Karbonn Mach Six will come at an unbeatable price of Rs.7490 – in direct competition with the Samsung Gear VR device that currently costs Rs.8,200.

While VR technology offers huge growth potential in India with the ever-expanding smartphone market, affordability will be key to encourage mass adoption of the VR experience.

“Karbonn’s VR glasses available with Karbonn Quattro L52 and Mach Six are an effort to address this challenge by bringing VR technology to consumers across economic spectrum at disruptive price-points in the under Rs.10,000 bracket,” Karbonn Mobiles executive director Shashin Devsare told IANS.

According to a recent report, the global VR market is expected to touch an estimated $120 billion by 2020.

“With low-cost VR devices, at least people will know what VR is. They will be able to experience the immersive VR because Indian devices will prove more cost-effective,” Vishal Tripathi, research director at global market consultancy firm Gartner, told IANS.

For Tripatrhi, a VR device in the Rs.7000-8,000 range will prove a real gateway for Indian consumers. “The low-cost VR devices can easily reach the large youth population. Had these affordable device not been launched, the Indian masses would not have started experiencing VR,” Tripathi added.

There is a catch, though. While Oculus Rift and HTC Vive offer better technology and experience, low-cost VR devices will have to come up with improvised versions as global players will soon hit the Indian market aggressively – with freebies, attractive offers, discounts, EMI options and what have you.

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