2016 has kicked off with a bang for the virtual reality (VR) industry, as Oculus VR has launched pre-orders for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) for $599 USD. That price is a fair bit higher than some fans were hoping for, with Oculus VR explaining that its plans for the consumer version had changed significantly from the updated second development kit (DK2) it was planning to release at retail a few years ago for a lower cost. Now the creator of Oculus VR parent company Facebook has also stepped in to label the Oculus Rift as ‘the best virtual reality experience in the world’.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg said as much in a Facebook post explaining why the year ahead was so important for the company. “First, our Oculus virtual reality product is open to pre-orders starting today after many years in development,” he explained. “We believe virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform that will change the way we all connect and communicate. Oculus provides the best virtual reality experience in the world.” When later asked why the kit was more expensive than anticipated, Zuckerberg replied: “It has better tech, a more polished product and it comes with a controller.”
So far Facebook has kept its distance from the Oculus Rift as a product and the experiences it offers, only recently launching 360 degree video support on its own platform that can be viewed through another Oculus VR HMD, the Gear VR. Support for the Oculus Rift for these videos is also expected to arrive around the time that the kit first starts to ship on 28th March 2016. Pre-ordering a kit now will land you with an estimated delivery date of June 2016, however. Could shipments soon stretch all the way into Q3?
For the latest updates on the Oculus Rift, stay tuned to VRFocus.