Oculus has announced that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will go on sale in the first quarter of 2016, with pre-orders opening later this year. Get those barf bags ready!
Further details such as the unit’s price, hardware specifications, and software will be revealed in the coming weeks. What we do know is that the build is based upon the Crescent Bay prototype, which was first shown to the public at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show back in January. They’ve since improved the tracking system to support both seated and standing positions, and have also refined the design and ergonomics.
The blog post goes on to hint at the many “unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences” that have been prepared for the Rift. Chances are Oculus will have a very crowded booth at E3 next month.
The Oculus Rift first came to light in January 2013 with a Kickstarter campaign that raised US$2.4 million. A year later the company was acquired by Facebook, propelling the Rift’s public reach beyond just videogames – the Samsung Gear VR (US only) is a collaboration between both companies to have the tech go mobile.
They haven’t carried on unchallenged, of course. Sony have already unveiled their own VR prototype codenamed Project Morpheus, expected to release in Q1 2016 as well. Valve are in on it too, teaming up with HTC to bring us SteamVR, except theirs is also able to detect users moving around the room.
It’d be prudent to remember that games will need to be designed with VR in mind from the very start and not simply tacked on, as was the case with voice commands and motion detection. Fortunately we already have genres that would strongly benefit from such high levels of immersions, and with games like Project CARS already releasing with VR support, early adopters won’t be short of options once their headsets arrive.
Which brings us to the all-important question: How much are you willing to spend on the Oculus Rift?