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Oculus’ GDC Preview Event Proves Rift is Ready for Launch

When VRFocus started just over two years ago now, there was an optimistic hope that the Oculus Rift might go on sale towards the end of 2014. Needless to say it’s been a long, agonising wait for the final full launch. There was an air of disbelief, then, to Oculus VR’s Rift Launch Preview event at the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week. After two long years (and longer still for anyone that’s been paying attention since the Kickstarter campaign), the Oculus Rift is finally ready to launch, and it has the videogame line-up to prove it.

There’s been a lot of talk of the device deviating from its primary function as a new videogame platform over the past 24 months – especially when Facebook purchased Oculus VR in 2014 – but make no mistake that that is every bit what the Oculus Rift will be at launch. There are a staggering 30 titles to choose from on day one, 28th March 2016, with the promise of much more to come in the near future.

All of these titles were on display at the event, and prove that there’s going to be a lot of variety in the launch line-up. VRFocus will have previews of the majority of these going live in the coming week, but you just need to take a quick peek at the list to find something that will catch your attention. For racing fans? There’s Project CARS, Radial-G and BlazeRush, while horror fanatics will be diving straight into Albino Lullaby and Dreadhalls. Lucky’s Tale gives the Oculus Rift that essential launch platformer in the spirit of a Nintendo release, while EVE: Valkyrie is sure to keep multiplayer gamers busy.

The list goes on, and is even bolstered by some of Gear VR’s best and brightest. Ports of Gunjack, Dead Secret, Esper 2 and Herobound: Spirit Champion are available for those that don’t own the mobile-based HMD. You’ll be showing these to your friends to introduce them to the tech for the first time, then slipping back into Chronos or Elite: Dangerous when they go home.

Of course, there’s always the concern that this is too much, that there will be a huge amount of content in day one to make up for an incoming drought in the future. But Oculus VR seems to be planning far ahead; Insomniac Games’ Edge of Nowhere, High Voltage Software’s Damaged Core and Dragon Front, Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight and plenty more are expected in the coming months, while the release of the Oculus Touch position tracked controllers will bring a fresh wave of content at some point in H2 2016.

That air of disbelief is also met with a sense of relief, then. At $599 USD, the Oculus Rift is a tough sell for the mainstream market, even with the constant reminders that the company will be losing money on every unit sold. But this is a new platform with a software line-up that would do any PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo platform proud, just as Oculus VR and the development community should be proud to have curated such a diverse range of experiences. It may well be that many people won’t get to play some of these titles for a long time, but anyone that does take the plunge now will no doubt be rewarded.