Innovation

Oculus Rift pre-orders open at massive $600 price point

VR company Oculus recently announced that the consumer version of its Rift headset will open to pre-orders on Wednesday, January 6. Here's what you need to know.

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Image: Oculus

If you've been holding out for a production-ready consumer VR headset, it's time to get excited because the Oculus Rift is on its way.

In a blog post, Oculus announced that the consumer version of the Rift will be available for pre-order starting on January 6, 2016, at 8 a.m. PT. The pre-orders are available through the company's website, but the online store crashed almost immediately upon opening.

Surprisingly absent from the original blog post was the price of the Rift. The most recent developer kit, the DK2, sold for $350, and Luckey stated that the consumer Rift will carry a higher price tag. He wasn't kidding—the Oculus Rift will run you $599. They are limited to one per customer and the expected ship date is sometime in April 2016.

If you want to try and save some money and get your hands on a DK2—good luck because those sold out in October 2015.

Back in May 2015, Oculus announced that the Rift would be shipping in Q1 2016 and pre-orders would be taken late that year. While they barely missed the target pre-order date, they seem to be on track to make good on their promise to ship the headsets in early 2016.

The news comes just a few days after another blog post from Oculus giving details about the Oculus Touch, which are Oculus' natively-built VR controllers. The blog post said that the controllers will ship the second half of 2016 because they need more time before the release.

In the meantime, the consumer Rift will ship with with the XBox One wireless controller.

What the announcement of pre-orders also signals is that Oculus could end up beating the HTC Vive to market after all. While it was speculated that the HTC Vive would announce pre-orders December 8, 2015, HTC ended up announcing a release date of sometime in April, potentially losing the advantage of being the first high-end virtual reality headset available to the public.

Oculus initially made major headlines with its Kickstarter campaign and its subsequent $2 billion acquisition from Facebook. With its consumer model launch, the company could very well be on track to carving out the consumer VR market.

Each Rift comes with a copy of the platform VR game Lucky's Tale by Playful, but pre-orders will also include a copy of EVE: Valkyrie as well.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey will also be conducting a Reddit AMA on Wednesday at 6 p.m. PT to answer questions about the release.

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Conner Forrest is News Editor for TechRepublic. He covers startups and enterprise technology and is passionate about the convergence of tech and culture.

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