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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.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.