Entertainment, Gaming, Hardware, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), VR World

Consumer-Ready Oculus Rift Shipping Q1 2016

The Facebook (NASDAQ: FB)-owned VR pioneers, Oculus VR, have announced that a finalized version of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will start shipping in Q1 2016 (Jan. 1 – Mar. 31, 2016).

Pre-orders for the final version will be available later this year, but pricing hasn’t been revealed.

Oculus VR was likely pressured into this announcement by big-name contenders stealing headlines over the past few months; not long ago Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) wooed the entire technology sphere with its amazing AR-ready Hololens headset.

Meanwhile the press caught on that Oculus Rift wouldn’t release in 2015, contrasting it against Valve’s and HTC’s (TPE: 2498) promise to release their own Vive VR headset “before the start of 2016”.

Oculus Rift Final 2

Oculus VR shares a look at the finalized Oculus Rift design.

While we don’t know much about the final consumer-grade Oculus Rift, the company promises to reveal hardware specs, pricing, and software starting next week.

“In the weeks ahead, we’ll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift. Next week, we’ll share more of the technical specifications here on the Oculus blog.”

Right now the VR headset is currently in its third development cycle under the Crescent Bay prototype which retails for $350.

To ready it for everyday consumers, Oculus VR has considered many changes including wireless operation, higher resolution, and various structural tweaks to make it more lightweight. In it’s current form the Rift has a 100-degree field of view with low-latency 360-degree head-tracking to ensure immersion.

Even though the technology has impressed many, virtual Reality still has a lot of work to do before it can hit its strides in the consumer base.

Major roadblocks include a fitting form factor while reducing the amount of cords attached to the peripheral, managing “VR sickness”, and accessibility, considering VR tech needs a higher-end computer in order to function properly.

Read More: Will VR Take Off In 2015?

Although the Rift is slated for a consumer release, that doesn’t mean it’ll be the final end-all headset; Oculus VR likely has planned a progressive release cycle for the Rift that ensures the tech continues to grow over the next decade or so.

It’ll be interesting to see how Oculus VR plans to answer these persisting problems with the new Rift, and how it continues to push forth into the new virtual segment.