Pre-orders for the Oculus Rift opened up Wednesday morning, and the future of virtual reality has a big price hurdle that must be leapt. The starting price for the headset bundle has shocked many that were anticipating the jump into VR, but it is not just the headset that should cause sticker shock.
The Oculus Rift VR pre-order is available for $599.00, with the first shipments going out to 20 countries on March 28, according to the Oculus announcement.
The bundle includes the headset, a separate sensor to track user movement, the Oculus Remote, an Xbox One controller, and all necessary cables. There are also two games included – the space shooter EVE: Valkyrie and the colorful platformer, Lucky’s Tale.
Reports confirm that the first immersive experience available to purchasers of the new Oculus Rift headset will be “OH MY GOD I’M BROKE”
— Keith Stuart (@keefstuart) January 6, 2016
That feeling when you realize that the Playstation 3 and Oculus Rift have the exact same launch prices.
— Sonic Paradox News (@SSF1991) January 6, 2016
Despite the misgivings of some on social media, pre-orders of the Oculus Rift appear to be brisk as early adopters jump aboard. Despite the original ship date being listed as March 28, the volume of pre-orders has pushed new pre-order shipments back to May at the time this article was written.
The hair under $600 price is not the true cost of the Oculus Rift, however. Users will need a capable PC to power the virtual reality headset, and the price is potentially much more expensive. The recommended specs listed on the Oculus website are as follows.
- Video Card: Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
An Oculus compatibility tool is also available to download to check to see if your current PC is capable of running the Oculus Rift.
Oculus lists a couple of PCs for pre-order that are Oculus Rift-ready on the website. The Alienware machine costs $1,200, despite the promotion stating that its starts at $999. Meanwhile, an ASUS machine and Dell rigs start at $949 and $999, respectively. Meanwhile, an Oculus-ready PC and Rift bundle will reportedly be available for pre-order in February for a $1,499 starting price.
Those that backed the Oculus Rift Kickstarter got perhaps the best deal of all. Backers will receive a free consumer edition of the virtual reality headset, which isn’t a bad exchange since the starting price for a Rift development kit was $275.
Additional costs can be expected when the Oculus Touch controllers are released later this year. Oculus announced the release of the unique half-moon motion controllers was delayed just a few days before the Oculus Rift pre-order went live.
“On the path to perfecting Touch, we’ve decided that we need more time before release, and we’ll now be shipping Touch in the second half of 2016. Pre-orders will open a few months prior to launch,” the company wrote.
“We’ve made significant advances in ergonomics, and we’re implementing many changes that make Touch even more comfortable, reliable, and natural. We’re also implementing changes that improve hand pose recognition.”
The partnership is meant to give Microsoft a foothold in the VR space, as it does not have a VR device of its own. The two companies are working to ensure the Oculus Rift works “seamlessly” with Windows 10 and will also support streaming Xbox One gameplay from the console to a Windows 10 PC and then to the headset.
Now, eyes will turn toward Sony and PlayStation VR headset. The company declined to comment or show its virtual reality headset for the PS4 during its 2016 Consumer Electronic Show address Tuesday evening. The device has a leg up over the Oculus Rift by being compatible with the $350 console, but its price point is still a mystery.
[Image via Oculus]