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Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to launch in 2016
Facebook-owned Oculus VR has announced that its virtual reality headset will be ready to ship in 2016
Oculus Rift, the long-awaited virtual reality headset from Facebook-owned company Oculus VR, will start shipping to consumers in the first quarter of 2016, with pre-orders beginning later this year.
Until now, Oculus VR has only sold prototype headsets intended for video games developers. However, the consumer model will have a new "industrial design" and feature an "improved tracking system" that supports both seated and standing gaming.
The company is not revealing much at this stage, but said it will announce more details about the headset's technical specifications in the coming weeks, along with a number of previously unannounced virtual reality games.
"The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality," said Oculus VR in a blog post.
"It’s a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be."
Oculus Rift first launched as a Kickstarter project in 2012, promising to "take 3D gaming to the next level". The project surpassed its target in less than 24 hours, and by the end of the campaign had received almost $2.5 million from 9,522 backers.
Since then, four different versions of the headset have been revealed to the public. The most recent version, known as Crescent Bay, features a greater resolution than the previous version, a lower weight, built-in audio, and 360-degree tracking thanks to the presence of tracking LEDs in the back of the headset.
During a panel at SXSW 2015, Oculus VP of product Nate Mitchell also revealed that the Crescent Bay prototype uses two screens instead of one as previously thought.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose company bought Oculus VR for $2 billion (£1.2bn) in March 2014, said that one day virtual reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.
"Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face - just by putting on goggles in your home," he said.
"Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones."