Oculus is ready to sell virtual reality to the public, almost 3 years after it Kickstarted its first developer kit. Today Oculus announced that “the Oculus Rift will be shipping to consumers in Q1 2016, with pre-orders later this year.” The new version will support but seated and standing VR experiences.
The vaguely worded announcement (below) from the Facebook-owned company raises big questions, including whether Oculus Rift will come with everything users need be able to power the VR system, and whether Oculus is making its own games. I’ll have more answers and details later this morning when I speak onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt NY with Oculus co-founder and VP of Product Nate Mitchell.
[Update 1pm EST: On stage, Mitchell told me that buyers will require a gaming PC to power the Oculus Rift. He also confirmed that Oculus has several small small gaming studios producing first-party games for the Rift. Pre-orders will likely happen on Oculus.com, but Mitchell said retail will be important to the company, hinting at trial stations at big box retailers.
For more details, check out our post “Oculus Is Building Its Own Games For Rift, But You’ll Need A PC To Play“]
Interestingly, Oculus refers to itself as “a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality”. There’s no mention of a third-party computer necessary to power the Rift, which previous Oculus developer kits required.
The Oculus blog post also mentions that “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.” While Oculus revealed its making cinema experiences with its Story Studio, it has yet to publicly say it’s making its own games. The ones noted in the announcement could be built by third-parties, but Oculus might want to ensure some enticing games are available on the Rift the day it ships.
Though Oculus worked to launch the mobile Samsung Gear VR headset last year, the Rift is the first full-featured, wired consumer release. Unless its competitors like Sony and HTC can get VR headsets out before Q1, Oculus could enjoy a head start in bringing us into the virtual world.
Oculus’ full announcement is below.
First Look at the Rift, Shipping Q1 2016
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 gamers, developers, and industry legends to push the limits of what we believe gaming is and what it can be.
The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.
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. 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. If you’re interested in building a next-generation VR game or application, everything you need to start developing for the Rift is available at the Oculus Developer Center (LINK: http://developer.oculus.com).
E3 is just around the corner — this is only the beginning.
— The Oculus Team