There isn’t an official release date for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, in fact there isn’t even a price point, but the company is determined to keep itself in our minds by announcing that Oculus Rift preorders will be opening on Wednesday the 6th of January.
The announcement was made on the Oculus blog where it was also revealed that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey will be taking part in a Reddit AMA on Wednesday to answer questions about the product. No doubt shipping dates and pricing will be revealed before this AMA takes place, or those would be the only questions Luckey would be likely to receive for the first half hour.
The arena where VR is likely to take off quickest is gaming, which is probably why the Rift will come packaged with platform videogame Lucky’s Tale which has cartoonish visuals reminiscent of games like Banjo-Kazooie, and preorders will also receive a copy of space shooter EVE Valkyrie. Originally an Oculus motion controller was supposed to launch not long after the headset, but this has been delayed in order to improve ergonomics and motion tracking so instead the headset will ship with an Xbox One controller thanks to a partnership with Microsoft announced last year.
The commercial launch of the Rift is going to be one of the biggest forward steps virtual reality has taken into entering the mainstream, but we don’t imagine it’s going to be cheap. The Oculus Rift is all about a high quality VR experience, no costs cut; it doesn’t work via mobile, instead requiring wired connection to a good PC which, though offering more power whilst keeping the headset actually wearable, is a fairly expensive investment on its own. It’s likely that the Oculus Rift will be picked up by some keen early adopters rather than something that will be immediately seen in every household. As Palmer Luckey himself said on Twitter, VR is going to be “something everyone wants before it becomes something everyone can afford.”
Reminder of something I have talked about before: VR will become something everyone wants before it becomes something everyone can afford.
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) December 24, 2015
Virtual reality is one of the things we’re most excited about coming into 2016, and with this news as well as the HTC Vive which is expected in April and the Playstation VR headset expected later this year there’s plenty to keep an eye on. We’ll keep you updated here with any more Oculus Rift news as it comes on Wednesday.
UPDATE: Now that the preorders have finally opened we have the answers to the most asked questions about the Oculus Rift: when is it and how much is going to cost me? Well, the expected ship date for the Rift is March 2016 and the cost? Around £499 without shipping. Now that’s pretty steep, but we’re not particularly surprised. Before you commit to anything, make sure your PC is up to scratch by checking the minimum system specs.