And so the age of VR truly begins. It's been a long time coming, but 2016 is the year we finally find out if facebox gaming will sink or swim. I'm extremely excited personally, but still doubtful that it can reach far outside an adoring techno-niche: something far more elegant is needed for that, I feel. But that's for the future. Right now, today, the long-awaited consumer version of the Oculus Rift [official site] has gone on pre-sale. The bad news is that it'll cost you a terrifying $600 before tax and shipping if you're Stateside, and it gets even worse if you're based in the UK or Europe - £500 for the former, €700 for the latter - before shipping. Maybe VR just sunk already?
Though you won't actually have to stump that hideous sum up until the thing's about to be posted out, which we now know will be in March.
Here's how that works, as revealed on Twitter (uber-rival to his boss' firm, wonder how that works?) by Oculus lead Palmer Luckey:
We won't lock people into preorders months before reviews come out using our awesome preorder bonuses. We have confidence in our product!— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 6, 2016
Fingers, both real and virtually real, crossed that his confidence is well-founded. I love a bit of VR, but the last time I used an Oculus headset - the now out-dated DK2 - it didn't feel anything like ready for primetime despite the concept being sound. I want to believe. But I really don't want to have to buy a new graphics card to power the Rift; time to see how far I can overclock this GTX 970.
Details and order links here; expect the site to be taking a bit of battering, but Luckey has claimed that pre-orders won't actually sell out, so don't panic.
No chance of Rift preorders "selling out", we will keep taking preorders for as long as people want EVE: Valkyrie!— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 4, 2016
Hopefully he's right. But maybe panic just a little, for old times' sake. Though I don't know how many people will be rushing to pre-order given that crazy price. Luckey claims the apparently unfair exchange rate is all above board, though it's cold comfort:
International Rift prices are not artificially bloated - we have to cover the required taxes, sales tax in USA works differently.— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 6, 2016
Oh, in case you're an Oculus Kickstarter backer who somehow hasn't heard yet: you really should take a read of the message they sent you yesterday, or read this
. You're going to be very, very happy.
Those of you who aren't getting one for free, what's your take on the price? Much, much higher than I'd expected, to the point that I can't actually afford one right now. Dammitall. It comes with 'free' copies of EVE: Valykrie and platformer Lucky's Tale plus an Xbox One controller and wireless adaptor, if that helps. It's a shame there's not an option to buy it without the controller and adaptor, as some of us are already sorted for wireless pads and it'd save a fair old chunk of change.
Your move, Valve.