Oculus VR, the company behind the modern revival of virtual reality (VR) and the Oculus Rift development kits, are set to launch a public ‘beta’ for the consumer version of their head-mounted display (HMD) next summer, it has been revealed to VRFocus and TechRadar. The distribution will be handled by the company internally and will be strictly limited in number.
Multiple sources have revealed that the plans for a consumer version of the Oculus Rift HMD may be further along than Oculus VR have previously suggested, and that distribution to the public could commence as early as April 2015. No details on what form the HMD would take were revealed – either in it’s similarities to the development kits or potential new features – though it was suggested that the initial rollout will be very limited.
The news follows the recent revelation of Samsung’s Gear VR HMD, a collaboration with Oculus VR that will also see an initial launch in a limited capacity as the ‘Innovator Edition’. However, the Gear VR is expected to be available through traditional retail outlets while the consumer version of the Oculus Rift may only be available directly from Oculus VR, much like the development kits the company has made available thus far.
The second iteration of the Oculus Rift development kit, aka DK2, launched in July 2014 and demand significantly outstripped supply. Even now, two months after launch, there is a waiting list for new orders. The consumer version of the Oculus Rift will inevitably suffer the same issues, especially if the supply of the units is limited as suggested.
TechRadar reached out to Oculus VR on behalf of VRFocus, however the hardware manufacturer declined to comment on the potential of a beta rollout for their consumer hardware. VRFocus will keep you updated with this story as it develops.