By Joel Pinaroc
Computers that can handle emerging and popular virtual reality (VR) applications — such as VR gaming — can still be costly, mainly because VR applications require massive computing resources.
But for tech giant AMD, the first step in lowering the pricepoint of a computer that can handle VR is to offer competitive pricing to computer components including the motherboard and graphics card.
According to Ryan Sim, AMD channel sales director for Asean and India, only 1% of more than 1.4 billion personal computers (PCs) in the world can run VR, because these high-end computers can be costly.
?VR is still very expensive,? Sim said, during a recent AMD product launching which saw the company unveil in the Philippine market its Radeon RX 480 graphics card.
Sim did not mention an exact figure, but a typical VR setup can apparently cost a few thousand dollars.
For AMD, lowering the price of a graphics card, is one of the key ways to lower the prices of VR computing. A VR computer needs a very fast graphics card to run properly and without lags.
VR computing is gaining momentum because of its massive potential in a wide array of industries outside of PC gaming.
The target is to allow a casual user who spends around $300 to $400 dollars for a very good graphics card, to spend ?only? about $1,000 (less than P50,000) to get a VR-capable computer, Sim said.
And there are a lot of gamers and casual PC users, including Filipinos, who do spend the $300-$400 range (for a good graphics card) that can be targeted for VR, Sim said.
This is the reason, Sim said, that AMD has launched the Radeon RX 480 for Filipino PC users to allow local gamers to enjoy VR computing without breaking the bank.
In terms of marketing, Sonny SY, national sales manager for AMD Philippines, said the company will continue to use its channels to distribute the products.
Sy said AMD will be targeting a few thousand units of Radeon RX 480 in the coming quarter for the local market.
The executive reiterated that with a very good graphics card such as the Radeon RX 480 8GB variant (costing about P15,000), VR computing because more enticing for local users.
Aside from casual users, AMD will be targeting Internet cafes that offer high-end gaming, Sy also said.