After years of preparation Oculus began offering the Rift for pre-order at $599.
The wired PC-powered VR headset is expected to ship to the first buyers on March 28 with Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey suggesting those who aren’t able to get it in the first shipments will still get Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie bundled with the Rift for free at a later date. Pre-ordering the Rift also reserves a spot in line to order Oculus Touch controllers when they launch late this year.
The shipment includes a small media remote controller called Oculus Remote along with an Xbox One controller, the Rift and a sensor to track the headset. The remote allows people to “browse the Oculus store, explore 360 video content in Oculus Video, or experience a wide range of VR games and entertainment. It is the easiest way to introduce non-gamers to VR.”
While this is a momentous day for VR, it is also a huge day for Facebook as the owner of Oculus becomes a consumer electronics company. Even with Facebook’s immense servers at the disposal of Oculus, the pre-order site did not handle the crush of people who were interested in buying the headset. Many saw a blank page instead of a shopping cart. Our attempts to purchase the Rift at UploadVR.com using debit cards were not successful. Orders began at 8 a.m. PST and by 9 a.m. orders were seeing May shipping windows.
“We are experiencing insanely high load. Credit card processing is trying to stay livr under load from mass script kiddie fraud attempts,” Luckey wrote on Twitter.
According to Oculus, people pre-ordering the Rift will be able to get an Oculus Ready PC for around $900 as part of a bundle in February. The total price of the bundle for a PC and Rift will be $1,499. Oculus promised more than 20 games exclusive to Oculus this year including Rockband VR, Edge of Nowhere and The Climb.
A poll last month of more than 350 people showed 58 percent expected the Rift to cost $500 or less. 22 percent thought it would be between $501 and $650.
Updates to come.