It has been nearly four years in the making but the consumer model of the Oculus Rift is soon to be released. The product is currently available for pre-order now and will ship to some of the platforms earliest backers from March 28th, 2016 onwards.
Having first appeared on Kickstarter in August 2012, the now Facebook-owned Oculus has been through quite a few development and prototype virtual reality headsets on its way to a full consumer ready release, and the products final incarnation was revealed in the Summer of 2015. Along with that revelation came a final price tag on the device: $599 USD. This in particular has been the source for quite a bit on consternation around the VR community, as the CEO of Oculus was quoted as recently as August 2015 stating that the Oculus’ end price would be “…in the ballpark” of around only $350 USD, a far cry from the final retail price consumers will be paying. Despite these issues, Oculus is set to be the first, real consumer-grade option for full, headset based virtual reality software, allowing end users to experience games, movies, events, and much more in a simulated environment.
Along with the large price for the headset and some included goodies (such as an Xbox One Elite controller), some customers might have to shell out even more to ensure they can actually run the Rift itself. Oculus has openly stated for a long time that to get the right experience with its consumer headset, you will need a beefy PC rig. It released the recommended specifications recently and while they may shock some, the requirements themselves really aren’t surprising.
To get the full Oculus Rift experience, it requires at minimum the following:
- Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or newer
- Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 graphics card
- Intel i5-4590 processor
- 8GB RAM
- HDMI 1.3 video out
- Three USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port
You can actually find out if your PC is fully compatible through a small piece of software that checks your computers specs and gives you the thumbs up or thumbs down. It can be downloaded from Oculus’ own website at oculus.com.
High price or no, the Oculus is set to introduce the world to VR in a big way, and hopefully as the technology becomes more and more mainstream, rival VR companies will continue to innovate and lower the overall price cost of entry.