It’s been a long time coming, but we are now getting a firm release date for the Oculus Rift. Oculus confirmed today that it will open up preorders for the consumer version of its VR headset later this year, and that it will actually ship in Q1 of 2016.
Since the original Kickstarter campaign took off in mid-2012, we’ve seen a number prototype configurations for the Oculus Rift. Today’s announcement, however, gives us the first look at the final production design for the Rift, and we must say that it looks quite spiffy. Oculus has built upon the sound fundamentals of the Crescent Bay prototypes to present a headset that includes improved ergonomics that can accommodate gamers in both sitting and standing positions. The VR headset’s tracking system has also been improved for the final production version.
“The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality,” said Oculus in a blog posting this morning. “In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift.”
While we got a taste of the Oculus Rift’s final production form today, more details will be revealed on the technical specifications for the device next week. If that isn’t enough detail for you, Oculus promises that you’ll be delighted to see what it has in store for E3, which runs from June 16 through June 18 in Los Angeles.
One crucial piece of information that is missing, however, is pricing. The Oculus Rift development kit went on sale last year with a rather hefty price tag of $350. As for pricing for the consumer version, we have to look back to a year-old interview for some insight. "We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range," said Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell in March 2014. "That could slide in either direction depending on scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, business negotiations."
It’d be nice if the Oculus Rift ended up on the lower end of the pricing spectrum when it is released next year, but we’re not holding our collective breaths.