“Happy new year!” reads the email, as if this were good news. As if were a happy thing that, mere days after the traumatic horror-spend of Christmas, I need to find a few hundred quid from somewhere to buy an Oculus Rift headset, pre-orders for which open tomorrow.
I say “need”, and while in some respects that’s melodrama and entitlement, there’s some truth to it. Both professionally – I kinda need to be able to write about this stuff – and emotionally. It’s been a bloody long wait for the VR dream to become real, and I’m incredibly impatient to know if it can be more than a delightful gimmick.
EVE: Valkyrie and cutesy platformer Lucky’s Tale will be the first fully new, full games with which to discover this, and copies of which will be included with Rift pre-orders. Elite Dangerous and its new Horizons DLC will also support the Rift out of the box, and I look forwards to seeing how that’s come on from the Oculus DK2 even if it won’t be a brand shiny new experience as such.
Pre-orders open at 8:00 am PT on January 6, which is 4pm UK time if my calculations are correct. No word on pricing, but personally I’m not expecting much change from £300, and perhaps not even from £400. Release date for the hardware is still listed as ‘Q1’, which could mean anything from tomorrow till the end of March.
Pre-ordering’s always a funny business, but even more so here. While we’ve had several years of Rift hardware doing the rounds and thus know both theory and practice is sound, the scale of the image quality and comfort improvements from the DK2 is still an unknown for most of us, and a bigger question mark still hangs over whether enough games will support the hardware to make it worthwhile. I’ll almost certainly get one because I really do need to be in the loop, but I guess I feel more nervous than excited about it right now.
News that the motion/touch controllers have been delayed until later in the year only make me more anxious. And then there’s the matter of when the HTC/Valve Vive will be released…
What about you lot? Who’s going to go for it?
Here are Lucky’s Tale and Valkyrie trailers, in case you’ve not seen ’em: