Brexit Is Making VR More Expensive in the UK

This doesn't help the obstacle of high prices already facing VR.

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Jul 30 2016, 5:00pm

Image: Flickr/TechStage.

Thanks to Brexit, Vive virtual reality just got more expensive in the United Kingdom. Already, one of the biggest obstacles for the VR adoption is the price, so this certainly doesn't help.

The previously £689 ($911) HTC Vive, the VR headset using Valve's technology, comes with a visor, dual hand controls, and two sensors that track the user's movement. The price is high, as compared with the £500 ($660) Oculus Rift and £300 ($400) PlayStation VR, and some question whether or not it's worth it. With the new Brexit-heavy price tag, that question mark becomes even more pronounced.

In a July 29 message to its UK customers, the HTC said:

"HTC continuously monitors and adjusts pricing to ensure we are providing our customers with the best value possible. Due to recent currency valuation changes and the current value of the GBP [Great Britain Pound] we are adjusting the price of the HTC Vive in the UK to £759 + P&P [postage and packaging]. The adjustment will come into effect on Monday 1st August."

In American dollars, the new price is equivalent to about a grand.

Over July, as the value of the pound dropped to its lowest level against the US dollar in three decades, many companies raised their prices to maintain their British margins. For example, Dell also raised the price of its PCs, and OnePlus raised the price of the OnePlus 3, the company's latest phone.

Because Brexit has reduced the UK's growth prospects, the value of the pound has fallen. A strong economy with a strong currency hinges on the country's growth prospects, and whether investors are investing there, the Telegraph reports. With lower growth comes lower interest rates, and a rate cut for markets, bringing about domestic inflation, while businesses have to pay more for imports from foreign markets.

This is not good news, especially for VR. This year, VR headsets became more available, but only the most enthusiastic early adopters have been buying them so far. For starters, VR requires a high-end PC, which itself costs at least another $500. There's also not much content for VR, so the payoff for the hefty price isn't exactly there yet.

There's hope for VR, but its market in the UK may take a solid hit until the pound recovers.