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I'm one of those
Nice, but for getting one's feet wet, Google Cardboard + SDK is the way to go now. You can bet that the next generation of phones will have equivalent low-latency, etc., for VR.
Google's Project Tango environment mapping will make the phone+VR platform even more functional and attractive. (Given that Google has open-sourced Project Tango, I think Oculus MUST include it in their next prototype looking toward consumer release; otherwise, Rift tech will be obsolete by spring of next year.)
Oculus is now in a challenging spot: They have to convince consumers that the premium $350 Rift + $??? content-delivery device experience is worth the price over a $20 add-on for the content-delivering phone most people already have. As VR gains traction, even more cheap VR solutions will flood the market. I don't see Zuck recouping his $2 billion. Phone+VR simply makes more sense.
If Facebook+Oculus are smart, they will create an additional low-cost model that guts the Rift, makes it phone-based, sell it for $50, and call it the Oculus Thrift. Otherwise, they might be out of the VR game before it really begins.
Oh, one last thing: To make phone+VR a complete, open VR solution, HDMI input on phones would allow them to handle content from PCs, game platforms, etc. Or, hmm, I suppose a wireless streaming solution might work if the latency could be minimized.
I see where you're coming from with the idea that phones will succeed more with VR, but it's worth noting that enough PC gamers will want this to use with their rigs that it will probably have no trouble staying afloat. PC gaming is by no means the dominant presence in video gaming, but it's still big enough that entire companies exist just to build gaming PC's. Being the underdog does not equate to being worse or failing.
Note my last comment. If you have a phone that can receive a stream via HDMI or wirelessly, phone+VR is then completely open to all content sources.
Hypothetically... Do you currently own a smart phone? Let's imagine that it is next year's model that has said improvements for VR (equivalent to Rift tech) and includes HDMI input or streams wirelessly with low latency. Would you buy a $350 Rift or would you buy a <$50 Rift-equivalent VR add-on for your phone?
I agree that PC gamers are willing to pay a premium for their toys, but I think the Rift will become an increasingly losing proposition as phone+VR takes off. I can't see Rift's prospects coming anywhere near the $2 billion that Facebook paid for it. Facebook's only bet now is to create some kind of closed platform for Facebook members where they can only gain access to an exclusive Facebook-hosted 3D-content environment via Rift tech.
You said: "...enough PC gamers will want this to use with their rigs that it will probably have no trouble staying afloat. " No trouble staying afloat? NO TROUBLE STAYING AFLOAT? They're already $2 BILLION under water. They have to do a WHOLE LOT MORE than just stay afloat.
Kalqlate: phone+VR makes sense?!?!? Phones and VR make NO sense! Why would I want VR for my phone? Why would I carry around 1 more thing with my phone? How would my phone ever run the graphics intensive games of a modern PC? You really didn't think that one through.
Kalqlate; I would rather spend $350 for a Rift than received a VR headset for my phone for free.
You really should consider a remedial reading course. What is it about "HDMI input" that you don't understand?
Voting my comments down don't make them less true. It just reveals that you must be one of the poor saps who spent $350 on a device that will be obsolete in less than a year. :D
Kalqlate; my phones auto correct does wonders to what I actually type but make fun of errors if it makes you feel like you're winning an arguement.
Why would th Rift be obsolete in a year? Even if something much better comes out the rift will still be more than usable. I happen to spend a lot of money on a lot of products that become obsolete in a year; my cellphone, laptop, tablet, TV, even my car if a new model is about to be released.
On another note, Oculous has said for a while that the final retail product will cost less than the dev kit.