CES 2016: Oculus Rift Starting Price: $599

Pre-Orders Start, Shipments Slated for April
Oculus Rift headset.jpg

As announced earlier this week, Oculus opened pre-orders for the Oculus Rift, its new virtual reality platform, on Wednesday (January 6), and it won’t come cheap.

Per the online order form, the baseline product package, which includes the headset, sensor, Oculus remote, requisite cables, an Xbox One Controller, and two games (EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale), runs $599. By comparison, the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset (also powered by Oculus’s platform) costs $99, but must be paired with a compatible (and pricey)  Samsung smartphone.

Oculus, acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion, said shipments of the new VR system are expected to start in April 2016. Early on, Oculus is limiting one Oculus Rift per customer.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey went into more detail on Twitter, noting that Oculus Rift-PC bundles are starting at $1,499. “Might be able to build on your own cheaper, but good option for normal people,” he wrote.

And he said the product is getting good traction early on.  “We are experiencing insanely high load. Credit card processing is trying to stay livr (sic)  under load from mass script kiddie fraud attempts.” 

Oculus is targeting a small, but emerging VR market. The Consumer Technology Association predicts that interest in new VR products, such as the Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC Vive and coming Sony VR headset for the PS4, will cause unit sales to surge 500% in 2016 and reach 1.2 million units sold. CTA also expects VR to generate $540 million in revenues this year, up 440% from 2015.

A new study from  Frank N. Magid Associates found that there is a growing consumer appetite for in-home VR.

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