Oculus Rift VR will finally hit store shelves early next year

oculus rift vr will finally hit store shelves early next year crystal cove 100245805 orig clipped rev 2
Oculus VR’s development path has been a long and meandering one. The head-mounted virtual reality peripheral which hardware designer Palmer Luckey built mounted a successful Kickstarter project, went on to attract the support of gaming industry giants like id Software’s John Carmack and Valve’s Gabe Newell, and was ultimately acquired by Facebook in a deal valued at $2 billion. Now, almost three years since its public debut at the 2012 Electronic Gaming Expo, a long-promised consumer variant of the hardware is within reach. Oculus announced the headset will officially launch in Q1 2016, with pre-orders opening later this year.

That’s a little later than expected. CEO Brendan Iribe said last June he expected a 2015 ship date, but “changes to [the] roadmap” made that unfeasible, Luckey told a panel at SXSW in March.


In addition to details regarding “software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to Rift,” final specifications will be announced next week. No indication was given as to price, unfortunately — the company’s co-founders said previously the company is shooting for between $200 and $400, or “as cheap as possible” given “scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, [and] business negotiations,” Luckey told Eurogamer late last year.

The first iteration of Oculus VR retailed for $300, but that’s not an entirely reliable benchmark — the hardware has advanced significantly since then. The Rift DK2, the second revision, jumped in display resolution from 640 x 800 per eye to 960 x 1,080 per eye and gained an onboard CMOS sensor for position tracking. The latest version, Crescent Bay, added a pair of built-in headphones and more accurate sensors.

Many analysts credit Oculus with jump-starting the modern incarnation of headset virtual reality, and the company’s lofty vision is certainly in line with that perception. Oculus, which optimistically said its hardware is set to “transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication and much more” in a press release, is positioning its headset as the definitive medium for virtual reality consumption.

To that end, Oculus launched Story Studio, an arts and animation division led by former Disney employees, last year. The studio, which Supervising Technical Director Max Planck said is tasked with “creating VR art, figuring out the storytelling requirements of the medium and evangelizing the platform,” debuted the virtual reality short Lost at the Sundance film festival. It has five more productions planned for this year alone.


But Oculus isn’t the only kid on the block anymore — virtual reality is a growing industry. Samsung partnered with Oculus to release Gear VR, a peripheral for its Note and Galaxy line of smartphones. Sony plans to start selling Morpheus, a virtual reality add-on for the company’s PlayStation 4 console, in the first half of next year. And the HTC Vive, hardware borne out of a partnership with software developer Valve, will go on sale by the end of this year.

It’s unclear whether Oculus VR, which has had the longest incubation period of any virtual reality hardware, will be able to overcome the medium’s biggest usage barriers; input and latency. Conventional controllers like gamepads and keyboards aren’t necessarily well suited for interacting with objects in an immersive environment, obviously. Sony and Valve’s approaches revolve around object motion tracking, but Oculus has yet to reveal its own solution. Latency, meanwhile, continues to plague all headsets — people with a high sensitivity to motion have a tendency to become ill while wearing them. Oculus has made some headway in reducing nausea-inducing lag, but hasn’t completely managed to eliminate it.

Despite those and other challenges, Iribe told Ars Technica the company expects to sell “north of a million units” for the consumer Rift headset. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a little less conservative in comments he made last October — he’s shooting for sales of “50 to 100 million” units within the next 10 years.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Monster fires ‘toxic’ COO, alleges threats of mutilation, death

Monster, the company that turned the headphone industry upside down with Dr. Dre, is upending its own executive board, announcing in a press release that it had fired “toxic” COO Fereidoun “Fred” Khalilian as of July 27, 2018 –…

Dive head first into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Facebook appears set on crafting custom silicon for augmented reality devices

Facebook's latest job postings are seeking engineers and developers for custom augmented reality chipsets, and seem to support speculation that the company is looking to produce AR glasses.

Here’s every Xbox One X Enhanced game that supports 4K resolution

Microsoft boasts that its Xbox One X will be the most powerful console ever released, with increased frame rates, quicker load times, and 4K resolution. These are the games that can take advantage.

How Razer forged the Blade 15, the slim gaming laptop nobody else could build

With the recent launch of the Blade 15, Razer ushered in a new design language that's cleaner and more angular. We recently visited Razer's San Francisco, California design studio to learn more about Razer's approach to design.

Detangle your desk with these mighty wireless mice

If you're looking for the best wireless mouse on the market, we've got the list for you!. Here are six models that will give everyone what they need, whether they're hardcore gamers or looking to ward off carpal tunnel.

The real demons in ‘Devil May Cry 5’ are its microtransactions

Devil May Cry 5 will include microtransactions for players wanting to upgrade their abilities more quickly, Capcom has confirmed. They will be used to purchase the in-game Red Orbs currency.

Cancer-fighting 12-year-old Bethesda fan gets chance to play ‘Fallout 76’ early

Game publisher Bethesda recently gave a 12-year-old fan with cancer the chance to try out Fallout 76 early, as well as some cool signed merchandise. The game isn't schedule to officially release until November.

Here's everything you missed during week one of the 'Fortnite' Fall Skirmish

The Fortnite Fall Skirmish has begun and in order to stay informed on all the latest news, here's everything you need to know including each week's events, current standings, and the best places to watch.

Esports protest sees soccer fans hurling controllers and consoles onto field

Soccer fans in Switzerland annoyed at the game's growing involvement in esports staged a protest on Sunday that saw them throw controllers, consoles, and tennis balls onto the field during a game, forcing the ref to stop play.

It looks like ‘Fortnite’ wants to party with a new Season 6 DJ llama skin

Epic Games has begun teasing the skins you'll be able to acquire in Fortnite's sixth season. They include an adorable DJ Llama, complete with a custom mask, as well as an outlaw character.

After layoffs, Telltale says it may finish The Walking Dead with outside help

The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games abruptly laid off the majority of its employees last week, but the studio now says the game's final season could still be finished with another partner.