Oculus Rift was a long time coming but it's actually a real-life consumer headset these days. Oculus Rift, made for everyone rather than just developers, is available for the price of $599 or £499.
Orders are limited to one headset per person at this stage, but at least it's available now.
Of all the virtual reality (VR) systems, Oculus Rift is the one that probably commands the most headlines. It was a long time in development, it's acquisition by Facebook garnered plenty of attention and its capabilities place it at the forefront of VR experiences. We've met Rift plenty of times during its development and have never failed to be impressed.
If you've been following the Oculus story and you're tempted by Rift, here's everything you need to know about buying this premium VR system.
Oculus Rift: What's in the package?
The Oculus Rift £499 price gets you the headset itself. But Oculus is throwing in plenty more, so you can use it as soon as it's delivered.
The Rift package includes the headset with built-in headphones and microphone, the sensor, and an Xbox One controller. Oculus' own Touch controllers are also coming later this year, so you'll be able to play more motion-oriented games when they arrive. When you place your order, you'll be put in the queue for the Touch devices too, should you want them to add to the experience.
The Oculus Remote is also included. This is designed specifically for VR use to make controls easier without being able to see what's being pressed and it's this you'll use to browse the store and so on.
Oculus Rift: What games come with the Rift?
There is a rapidly growing library of games available for the Oculus Rift already, include EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky's Tale - the latter included for free with all headsets.
Plenty more titles are available on the Oculus Store, with over 100 due to be downloadable by the end of 2016 - including Minecraft. We can see plenty of people getting lost for hours in VR Minecraft worlds, although had some reservations when we tried it ourselves.
Other games due or have already been released this year from Oculus Studios include Rock Band VR, Edge of Nowhere and The Climb. There will be 20 exclusive Oculus games in total from the studio this year.
Oculus Rift: Can my PC run Oculus Rift?
The headset is only part of the equation: to use Oculus Rift you'll need a PC too. There's a quick check tool that will tell you if your Windows PC is powerful enough to run the headset on the order website right here.
Any PC that's "Oculus Certified" will work with the headset, having been tested by Oculus. These start at a price of $1,500 and can also be ordered from a number of partners, as detailed on the Oculus website. There are various other initiatives to make sure you have VR compatible hardware such as the VR Ready label from Nvidia.
For those who want a quick confirmation of the hardware you'll need, here's a quick rundown:
- CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
- RAM: 8GB+
- Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- Input: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or newer
It's worth noting that since Oculus posted its recommended specs, graphics card manufacturers have been hard at work making cards that can run VR but without costing the Earth. AMD announced during Computex that its Radeon RX480, priced at £160, will be VR-ready when it is available.
Oculus Rift: What about "Oculus Ready" PC bundles?
Oculus VR began shipping its headset on its own earlier this year, on 28 March, but also recommends several PCs to go with it. The bundles include not only the headset but also the certified PC required to run it.
Amazon, Microsoft Store, and Best Buy each sell these "Oculus Ready" bundles from Asus, Dell, and Alienware. Bundles start at $1,499 but can cost upwards of $3,000. For example, Alienware's Area 51 desktop has a Haswell Core i7 chip with 16GB of memory and GTX 980 graphics, and it costs $3,149.
Each bundle also comes with the headset, sensor, an Xbox One controller, remote and Lucky's Tale. Check out Oculus' blog post for more details about all the bundles and how you can get one.
Oculus Rift: Where can I buy Rift?
Oculus Rift is now available to order on Oculus.com.
It's priced at $599 in the US, £499 in the UK and €699 in the Eurozone. This price does not include taxes or shipping, which will vary by country.
Oculus Rift is available to ship to the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States.
The great news is that, after several months of fulfilling pre-orders, the company is now in a position to turn around new orders quickly. It promises to ship from 2-4 business days after an order is placed. That's a marked improved over the 2-4 months previously.
Some Microsoft stores in the US will also be selling the Oculus Rift soon, so you can walk in and buy one there and then. There is currently no word on wether that will extend to stores in the UK too.