The Oculus Rift is finally here. Facebook-owned Oculus VR revealed the final consumer version of Oculus Rift virtual reality headset at a San Francisco press conference today, and will have it playable on the show floor at E3 in Los Angeles June 16-18.
Oculus also made the surprise announcement that the Oculus Rift will come with a Microsoft Xbox One wireless controller, as part of a partnership with Microsoft (MSFT).
In addition to the controller, gamers will be able to stream and play 2D versions of Xbox One games like Halo 5: Guardians, Forza Horizon 2, and Sunset Overdrive within Oculus Rift. These won’t be VR games, but games played in a virtual cinema on a large 2D screen. In addition, the Oculus Rift will work natively with Windows 10.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Microsoft embracing Oculus with Windows, even though they have their own augmented reality device HoloLens, is very important.
“The idea of being plug and play with Windows makes Oculus consumer ready,” Munster says. “Streaming Xbox One games is a big deal because content at launch is important. If they have more than 30 Xbox One games at launch that can be a significant deal.”
Partnering with Microsoft will also help the Oculus Rift compete with Sony’s Morpheus VR headset, which is due to launch in 2016 and will work with the Playstation 4 and the Playstation Vita. The Oculus Rift will be available in Q1 2016.
While Oculus did not discuss a price for the VR headset, Munster believes the Oculus Rift will cost $350 to $500. In addition, the PC requirements for VR will be on the high end, which means only half of PC gamers will be able to use the Oculus Rift without needing to upgrade to a more powerful graphics card or getting a completely new PC. For the non-PC gamer audience, Munster believes only 20% of PCs in the market today are powerful enough to run Oculus Rift games. That means some people will be investing as much as $1,500 to use the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift headset, which will require a wired PC connection, features a pair of low-persistence OLED displays, 360-degree VR sound, and comes with small table-top camera that will track head movement via LED markers on the headset.
Oculus also announced the Oculus Touch controllers with haptic feedback, as well as a number of Oculus-exclusive VR games that will be showcased at E3 next week.