If you've been wondering you can finally jump into our virtual reality PC future, we're now a step closer. Oculus VR has announced that the Oculus Rift consumer headset will be available for pre-order on January 6, at 8am PT/11am ET. How much will it cost? No clue! When will it ship? No idea! The only thing we know is what it looks like and what you get with the headset: every Rift will ship with CCP Games' EVE Valkyrie and Playful's Lucky's Tale as playable titles, alongside an Xbox One controller.
Back in October, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey told Road to VR that the Oculus Rift itself will likely cost more than $350.
"You know, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. We're roughly in that ballpark... but it's going to cost more than [$350]. And the reason for that is that we've added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days," said Luckey in an interview.
"And it's not a matter of 'oh we're selling more, we can make more money!' it's just the reality that when you make this thing you have to decide what tradeoffs you're going to make; are you going to optimize for absolute lowest price possible, even if it's gonna be a lower quality experience? Or do you try to say 'you know what, this is the first consumer VR headset that were going to be pushing out to people. We need to put a stake in the ground and say: this is the best possible experience that we were able to make. No compromises were made in terms of quality'."
The Oculus Rift is also going to require an up-to-date rig just to run at the bare minimum. Oculus VR announced back in May 2015 that a Rift would require an NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD 290 or better, an Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater, and 8 GB RAM. That's a ballpark of $500+ for just those parts if you're not already sporting the gear and that's before you buy the Rift headset. (I built my current PC to spec so I could run the Rift.) That's why Luckey told Re/code last year that consumer-grade VR is probably only going to be for enthusiasts for the first few years.
"In these early days, probably for at least two years, VR is going to be primarily for gamers and enthusiasts that are willing to invest in high-end machines. VR is going to become something mainstream, but it's not going to happen right away," said Luckey. "I'm the most optimistic guy about VR out there. I have crazy visions of what we'll be doing in the future. But it's not going to reach hundreds of millions of people in the next three years."
Backers of the original Kickstarter campaign, who previously received a Oculus Rift Development Kit, will be receiving a special Kickstarter Edition Oculus Rift for free, according to a new post at the original crowdfunding page.
"As one of the early supporters of Oculus, you helped make this revolution happen. And before we open Rift pre-orders to the world, we wanted to share one more special update with you, our Kickstarter community," the post says. "As a small token of our appreciation for your support, all Kickstarter backers who pledged for a Rift development kit will get a free Kickstarter Edition Oculus Rift! And like all Rift pre-order purchasers, you’ll receive a bundled copy of Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie."
Regardless, it looks like we'll be seeing the Oculus Rift some time in Q1 2016. The Oculus Touch controller has been delayed into the second half of 2016, as Oculus looks to make technology and ergonomic improvements. Luckey himself will be answering questions in a Reddit AMA on January 6 at 6pm PT/9pm ET.