It’s been 4 years since the Oculus Rift entered its name into the techy vernacular, starting as a crowd-funded idea back in 2012. Years later, and with its own share of blood, sweat, and tears, the virtual reality headset’s premier consumer model is hitting the market, with first deliveries expected to ship in March. While developers have had their hands on the technology for some time, the wider marketplace is just now starting to see what the new VR will look like. So as it premiers, here’s what to expect from the Oculus Rift.
The starting price for the Oculus Rift will run $599 US, or £499. While the steep price has caused outrage amongst gamers, not including the price of the high-end gaming PC for quality play and other controllers to interact with other gaming systems, with the price comes quality. Far ahead of other current VR headsets, the Rift brings a higher quality playing experience to gamers, avoiding cutting corners and compromising play.
Right now, Oculus is partnered with Microsoft to ship with an Xbox One Wireless Controller. This is in part to create compatibility between the headset and the game system so that users will be able to stream games directly from the console to the headset. This partnership hasn’t prevented Oculus from coming out with its own, proprietary controllers, though. The newly-announced Oculus Touch are rounded controllers, one for each hand, each have an analogue stick, two buttons, and a trigger. They also feature haptic feedback and a sensor matrix to identify gestures and poses like pointing and waving. Still a prototype, there is no data available on when the Oculus Touch will be made available.
Oculus is expecting a number of compatible games in 2016, though they won’t all be coming at once. Every Rift will come with a copy of Lucky’s Tails, a game wherein players guide a fox around a cartoon world to tackle challenges, collect coins, and enter into a number of mini-games. More notable titles will follow including Elite Dangerous, EVE Valkyrie (which comes with pre-orders), Half Life, Half Life 2, Mine Craft, Bullet Train, and possibly even arcade classics like PAC-MAN.
The Rift has its own requirements when it comes to the PC necessary to create the best experience for the device. Recommendations include an Intel i5-4590 processor, a minimum of 8GB RAM, and a Windows 7 SPI, along with an AMD 290 or GTX 970 graphics card. Theoretically, the Rift will work with a less intense PC on a fundamental level, but the user experience will be markedly lower in quality and unlikely to provide the sort of game play and live-action experience that sets the Rift apart from other VR headsets. That being said, as uses for the Rift beyond gaming, such as live action television events and VR global exploration, are made popular and become more commonplace, the future requirements may be a bit more open.