Sign in with Microsoft

We’re almost at the point where virtual reality is a thing, and we’re excited by the prospect. Oculus has been developing its headset for longer than most, and the good news is that it’s almost here.

When virtual reality first popped up in the 90s, it was ahead of its time. This journo recalls stepping into a Virtuality rig inside of its own little fence, donning a headset, and blasting blocky characters in the first generation of video games made for virtual reality.

That was sometime ago, when games were different. Virtual reality was barely an idea back then, and more a headset that you wore with little to no real interaction. There was even a virtual hang glider, but again, it was you strapped into a hang glider apparatus with a screen pressed up to your eyes.

Games have changed a lot since then.

Now, titles are more interactive, with more that you can do in the virtual world. Video games are just that much more complicated than they used to be, and you can now feel like you’re a part of the game even without experiencing it through a headset. That’s an important quality, because it can only help to make a game that much better when the screen is pressed up to your eyelids.

And that will happen very shortly, it seems, as Oculus isn’t far from bringing its virtual reality headset to consumers, beyond the developer kit anyone has been able to buy for some time.

As of this week, Oculus has announced that will be coming in 2016, using its blog to announce that it will be coming to consumers as early as the first few months of the new year, with pre-orders being made available later in 2015.

oculus-rift-release-announce-2015-01

According to Oculus, the first consumer-friendly Rift will be built on the most recent “Crescent Bay” prototype with “an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences” as well as “updated ergonomics for a more natural fit”.

It’s possible that even Samsung’s own Gear VR has influenced the final product, seeing as that was a collaboration between Oculus and Samsung.

Unfortunately, pricing is not yet available, but we suspect that it will likely be competitive, especially given that HTC is working on its own version with gaming powerhouse Valve, and that too is slated for release late this year, early next. Likewise, Sony will have its own Project Morpheus on the way, and we suspect Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality device could even provide something in the same area.

One thing’s for sure: VR is finally ready, and we’re excited.