First-generation VR sets are heading to the bargain bin, if you can still describe gadgets costing hundreds of dollars as bargains. After the Oculus Rift got a $200 price cut last month, HTC is following suit by knocking the same amount off its Vive headset, now yours for US$599 with controllers.

The Oculus Rift with its Touch controllers is actually on sale for $399 right now, but the price is expected to go back up to $499 soon. If you've been thinking about pushing the button on a VR headset purchase, now might be the time.

The HTC Vive originally cost $799 when it first appeared in February 2016, following on from the $599 price slapped on the Oculus Rift as pre-orders opened in January 2016. The difference was that the Rift came without controllers to begin with, and at $199 they closed the gap to the HTC Vive price.

A year and a half on, both HTC and Oculus owner Facebook are drastically cutting prices in a bid to kickstart some sales in the run up to the holiday season. There's no doubt second-gen headsets are also in the works, but we wouldn't expect them to show up anytime soon – not least because HTC and Facebook will want to shift as many units of the first-gen models as they can.

Being an early adopter in tech has always been an expensive business, and so it's proved with virtual reality. Don't forget you need a VR-ready PC to go with your HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, driving up the price even further. Mobile VR headsets offer nothing like the graphics quality or performance, but they are significantly cheaper.

If you're thinking now's the time to get involved with these immersive world experiences, check out our full reviews of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The TLDR version: There's not much to choose between them right now.

One final footnote while you make your comparisons: for full, room-scale VR (rather than the sitting down, peering around version), you do need an extra sensor for the Rift, which costs $59.

While the prices quoted here are from the US, similar price drops are happening across all of the markets where the Rift and Vive are on sale – check your local retailers for details.

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