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 now available.

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, and 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. Same goes for this consumer version.

If you're tempted by Rift, here's everything you need to know about buying this premium VR system.

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The company announced at GDC 2017 that it cut the price of its Rift headset and Touch motion controllers by $100 (about £80) each. Previously, the Rift had a $599 (£499) price tag. The Oculus Rift $499 price gets you the headset itself with built-in headphones and microphone, the sensor, and an Xbox One controller. Oculus' own Touch controllers are priced at $99 separately.

With the controllers, you can play more motion-oriented games when they arrive. 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 and so on.

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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. Over 100 titles are 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.

You can see the full list of Touch-compatible games here.

READ: The Climb preview: Virtual hands hanging-on with Crytek's Oculus exclusive VR game

The headset is only part of the equation; to use Oculus Rift you'll need a P,  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.

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Oculus VR recommends several PCs to go with Rift. 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 is now available to order on Oculus.com. It's priced at $499 in the US. 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.

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