After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, a $2 billion Facebook acquisition, and months of rumors and leaks, the Oculus Rift is finally shipping to the public.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe unveiled the first shipping version of the Rift at a press event in San Francisco today. Iribe touted the Rift's ergonomic design and its hyperrealistic renderings of games, and announced a partnership with Microsoft. The Rift will integrate with Xbox and Windows 10, will allow users to stream Xbox One games to their headsets, and will come with a wireless Xbox One controller, announced Phil Spencer, Microsoft's Xbox chief. The device will ship in the first quarter of 2016, and while Oculus hasn't announced a price yet, it's expected to be in the $1,500 range.
"With this device, you’re finally going to be able to teleport to new worlds," Iribe said.
For the first time, Oculus also announced a two-handed input system called Oculus Touch (code-named "half moon"), which will allow users to control games with communicative gestures captured by a pair of handheld trackers, rather than an Xbox controller. Pointing, waving, and thumbs-up gestures will also be captured by the Oculus Touch, which will give game developers some new options to toy around with.
Oculus also showed off some games being designed for the Rift, including a driving game, an RPG called Chronos, and a third-person action/adventure game called Edge of Nowhere. Teasers for the games were projected onto a 2D screen, rather than being shown in actual VR, so it's not clear how they'll look inside the Oculus headset, but the on-screen demos looked pretty compelling.
From an outside perspective, of course, playing an Oculus game will still look a little strange:
Games, of course, are just one of many ways the Oculus Rift will be used in the future. VR headsets are already being used to cure PTSD, treat phobias, and create immersive classroom experiences. But the gaming industry is clearly key for Oculus's consumer adoption. And starting next year, we'll see if gamers are as excited about Oculus as Oculus is about gamers.