Mar 1, 2017

Facebook cuts price of Oculus Rift amid growing VR pains

Marco Verch / Flickr cc

Facebook is slashing prices on its Oculus virtual reality headset and controller by $100 each as it tries to make the device appeal to more people. With the cut, the combined package sells for $598, substantially cheaper than HTC's $799 Vive and closer in price to Sony's $399 PlayStation VR. The Rift can also be purchased, sans controller, for $499.

Facebook paid more than $2 billion for Oculus back in 2014, but has hit a number of struggles along the way, including shipping delays and a $500 million payout to ZeniMax. Virtual Reality remains in its infancy and high-end systems like Oculus and HTC require a top-line computer in addition to the pricey headset. Mobile options — like Google's Daydream and Samsung's Gear VR (developed with Oculus) — allow people to get a taste of VR with a far smaller investment, and have dominated the still-nascent market.

"We are cutting the price to bring VR to more people, and that's always been our goal," Brendan Iribe, Oculus co-founder, told USA Today. "We've said all along making money on the hardware was not our goal," added Jason Rubin, the company's VP.

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George Zimmerman sues Buttigieg and Warren for $265M

George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in November 2013. Photo: Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images

George Zimmerman filed a lawsuit in Polk County, Fla. seeking $265 million in damages from Democratic presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, accusing them of defaming him to "garner votes in the black community."

Context: Neither the Massachusetts senator nor the former Southbend mayor tweeted his name in the Feb. 5 posts on what would've been the 25th birthday of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen Zimmerman fatally shot in 2012. But Zimmerman alleges they "acted with actual malice" to defame him.

4 takeaways from the Nevada Democratic debate

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The relative civility of the last eight Democratic debates was thrown by the wayside Wednesday night, the first debate to feature the billionaire "boogeyman," Michael Bloomberg, whose massive advertising buys and polling surge have drawn the ire of the entire field.

The big picture: Pete Buttigieg captured the state of the race early on, noting that after Super Tuesday, the "two most polarizing figures on this stage" — Bloomberg and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — could be the only ones left competing for the nomination. The rest of candidates fought to stop that momentum.

Klobuchar squares off with Buttigieg on immigration

Buttigieg and Klobuchar in Las Vegas on Feb. 19. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg went after Sen. Amy Klobuchar on the debate stage Wednesday for voting to confirm Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and voting in 2007 to make English the national language.

What she's saying: "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete, but let me tell you what it's like to be in the arena. ... I did not one bit agree with these draconian policies to separate kids from their parents, and in my first 100 days, I would immediately change that."