All rested and recovered from the news blowout at last week’s Game Developers Conference (GDC)? Good, because there’s little time left to recuperate. If you’re reading this page then you almost certainly know that the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is now less than a week away from arrival, making its first shipments on 28th March 2016. Some have been waiting well over three years for this moment, and their patience is about to pay off in a big way.
So what can you expect from launch week? Well it’s important to first note that not everyone that pre-ordered an Oculus Rift will be getting one in the next seven days; far from it, in fact. Instead, launch units will be provided to a select few that managed to get in first when the campaign launched back in January, along with the faithful fans that purchased the device’s first development kit (DK1) through Kickstarter back in 2012. Pre-orders are currently back dated to July 2016, so there’s still a long wait to go for many customers.
Those that are lucky enough to get one next week, however, will be treated to 30 videogames on day one. These include ports of recent hits such as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter to Oculus VR-funded and exclusive projects like Chronos. While it’s tough to identify anything as a surefire success right now, the varied line-up certainly suggests that there will be something for everyone. VRFocus will be providing the latest coverage on each and every one of these titles.
Launch goes beyond videogames, too. Many can’t wait to finally dig into the services and stores that Oculus VR has been preparing over the past few years. They’ve been given a glimpse of these with the release of Gear VR and the recent update to include friend requests, but this is where they’ll get to dive deep and explore an ecosystem that they’re set to be a part of for many years to come.
Elsewhere, there are new initiatives, devices and topics to discuss. Will the Oculus Ready PC programme, which is offering discounts on Oculus Rift compatible rigs, prove to be successful? Is the Oculus Remote a viable form of input for simpler experiences? Is the $599 USD price tag justified? You can expect the answers to these questions and more in the coming days.
Once launch is over? Well, as is common in the VR industry, there still won’t be any downtime. While new releases are expected for the Oculus Rift in April, it’s only a week after the kit’s launch that its main rival, the HTC Vive, arrives. The Steam VR device hits on 5th April with its own range of around 50 titles, bolstered by Room Scale user tracking. In the space of two weeks, VR fans are going to go from no VR HMDs and a handful of supported videogames to two HMDs and around 80 officially supported videogames.
In short, it’s going to be carnage. VRFocus will be here to steer you through the ins and outs of both weeks and beyond as the VR industry finally reaches the stage we’ve all been waiting for.