Almost 3 years after it Kickstarted its first developer kit and rekindled the industry’s interest in virtual reality, Oculus has finally announced a launch window for the finished, consumer version of its Rift headset. The device will ship in the first quarter of 2016 with pre-orders opening later this year.
According to the announcement on the Oculus blog, the finalized headset will be based on the Crescent Bay prototype, building upon its "presence, immersion, and comfort." It’ll feature an improved tracking system that accommodates seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.
The company didn’t delve into specific features and technical details but says it plans to do so with a series of posts in the weeks ahead. First up will be hardware specs, coming next week, followed by more information on software, input and many unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences.
The latter will no doubt be a major focus for Oculus given the gaming talent that has joined the company in the past few months, including Doom creator John Carmack, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin, and the former head of Valve’s Steam Jason Holtman. For now, we’re only told the Rift will ship with "compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality."
The Oculus Rift raised more than $2.4 million through its Kickstarter campaign in August 2012. Since then, the company received a few rounds of funding and was later acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion.
Its success jumpstarted a bigger community around VR which now includes the likes of Sony with the Morpheus and an HTC-Valve collaboration on the Vive. Both have commercial release dates; Sony's headset, designed for the PlayStation 4, will be released in the first half of 2016, while the HTC Vive will be coming out by the end of this year. Meanwhile Razer is getting in on the game too with an open source kit that’s set to launch sometime in 2015.