A consumer verison of the Oculus Rift, the much-hyped and long-delayed virtual reality headset, will be available to consumers in the first quarter of 2016, according to a tweet by Nate Mitchell, an executive at the company.
Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in March 2014, is the first of and in many ways the standard bearer for a new generation of relatively low-cost virtual reality devices. While this is the first time the Rift will be available to consumers, the headset has been in the hands of developers in some form for more than two years, starting with a Kickstarter-backed version in 2012.
The full announcement, on Oculus' blog, is scant on details, including price, but long on promise:
The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality. It's a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be.
While it remains to be seen whether consumers will treat the Oculus (and competitor devices like the Sony Project Morpheus and the Microsoft Hololens) differently than past, failed generations of virtual reality hardware, now there's at least a calendar-year quarter in which we'll begin to find out.