Wearable Tech World Feature Article
May 06, 2015

A Ship Date for the Oculus Rift Nearly at Hand

The Oculus Rift—describable as the first, best stab at virtual reality made since the days of “Dactyl Nightmare”—has been the topic of choice for a lot of gamers and wearable tech enthusiasts for some time now. But one thing distinctly missing from the conversations were the topic of just when anyone would be able to get hands on it. A new report says that, indeed, the device will ship, and fairly soon too. Perhaps, however, not as soon as some expected.

The new reports suggest that the Oculus Rift will go on sale in the first quarter of 2016, which flies in the face of speculation that Facebook and Oculus would be ready to ship the device in time for the 2015 holiday shopping season. Several confirmations followed the initial word, as noted by Oculus VR vice president of product Nate Mitchell, who tweeted that the device would be shipping “Q1 2016” and that the company couldn't “...wait to get it in your hands.”

This was followed up by word from the Oculus VR blog, which confirmed the ship date and offered up some more comment about what the final product would offer. It noted that the newest version surpassed the original Crescent Bay prototype, and not only offered better tracking systems, but also an updated design, updated ergonomics for a better-fitting experience, and the ability to not only accommodate a sitting experience, but also a standing one. More details were to follow, along with details on as-yet-unannounced games.

But the Oculus Rift will not have the market to itself, according to reports. Sony's Morpheus headset is expected to launch in the first half of 2016, so Oculus may not even have a month to itself in the market before competing. Additionally, several smartphone-related virtual reality (VR) products are also in the works, ranging from those already out like the Google Cardboard and the Gear VR, a Samsung/Oculus co-production, to headsets in line from Valve and Apple.

At its root, though, the Oculus Rift is one more great example of wearable technology, a field that's been experiencing plenty of gains over the last few years. Those interested in checking out the very latest in augmented reality and wearable tech can do so at the Wearable Tech Expo, coming July 13 – 15 to the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. While there, attendees will not only have the opportunity to see what's coming up in wearables, but also see several keynote speakers offer word on the very latest in wearables and where the industry is going.

The Oculus Rift is still on its way, and with it, plenty of questions about the overall impact of the industry. After all, this device is going to miss the holiday shopping season, but will it matter? Its target market has already been waiting a couple years for this device; missing prime season likely won't cut sales all that much. Also there are certainly some questions to address about what devices the Oculus Rift will work with, but with the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event a few weeks away, we may well see some of the Rift's attendant games soon enough.

Still, this is a very big release, and getting a first-hand look at the Oculus Rift is going to be a great development, one that may well change wearables and VR as we know it today.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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