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Oculus Rift headset on sale in 2016

Published 06/05/2015

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is to go on general sale early next year, it has been announced
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is to go on general sale early next year, it has been announced

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will go on sale to consumers for the first time next year.

After starting life as a project looking for crowd-funding on website Kickstarter, Oculus has since been bought out by Facebook for two billion US dollars (£1.3 billion), and has been working on various prototype versions of the headset for the past two years.

These have been available to buy online, but they are mainly aimed at developers looking to build apps and games for them.

Now Oculus has confirmed the finished version of the Rift headset will begin shipping in the first quarter of next year.

In a blog post on the Oculus site, the firm said: "Since the earliest days of the Oculus Kickstarter, the Rift has been shaped by gamers, backers, developers, and enthusiasts around the world. Today, we're incredibly excited to announce that the Oculus Rift will be shipping to consumers in Q1 2016, with pre-orders later this year.

"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.

"It's a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be."

The company have yet to announce a price for the headset, but the most recent prototype cost $350 (£230).

There have been several early prototypes of the Rift, and these have already been applied to a range of high profile gaming franchises, including Grand Theft Auto, to show the potential capabilities of the device.

Its rise has also seen rivals enter the virtual reality arena, with Sony currently working on a version for the PlayStation called Project Morpheus, while mobile giants HTC and Samsung have both launched VR headsets of their own.

"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," the Oculus team added.

"Next week, we'll share more of the technical specifications here on the Oculus blog. Virtual reality is going to transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication, and much more."

Tom Parsons, reviews editor at gadget website, said: "Oculus Rift finally getting a release date is really brilliant news.

"HTC's rival, Vive, is actually expected to beat it to launch and be out before Christmas, but the fact that Oculus Developer Kits have been out in the wild for a couple of years now means there's already loads of support and interest for it in the gaming world - it's going to hit the ground running."

HTC announced its own virtual reality headset in March, and has created it in partnership with gaming developer Valve, the operators of the Steam gaming platform.

Oculus currently also provides the hardware for Samsung's Gear VR headset which uses a Galaxy Note 4 smartphone slotted into it as the screen.

"Make no mistake, VR is going to revolutionise the way we game, and in the long run will have the same effect on how we watch sports and music events, and how we remotely socialise with friends and family," said Mr Parsons.

"Video calls could soon look very old-school."

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