The Oculus Rift is now readily available to buy in the UK and comes with an Xbox One controller, Windows 10 support, a game and more, and now you can order the brand-new Oculus Touch controller too. Curious about what it's like to use? Take a look at our Oculus Rift review.
Podcast discussion: First impressions of the Oculus Rift compared with the HTC Vive
When is the Oculus Rift release date?
Oculus opened pre-orders for the Oculus Rift earlier this year on 6 January at 4pm before shipping two months later in March 2016. All orders were processed via the US until September 2016, when the headset became readily available to buy in the UK from the likes of GAME and Amazon. You can find out more about ordering the headset in the UK below.
The Oculus Rift includes Lucky's Tale for gamers, and also comes with an Xbox One controller.
The Oculus Rift was originally available to buy in the UK for £549, but following an announcement at GDC 2017, the Rift dropped down to £499. You can buy it from GAME, Amazon and John Lewis, although Currys is yet to drop the price. This price gets you the Oculus Rift, the sensor, the remote, an Xbox One wireless controller with batteries, adaptor and extender, plus all the necessary cords. It also ships with the game Lucky's Tale, but not EVE: Valkyrie as it did when it first launched. (See also: How to set up an Xbox One.)
However, Oculus now offers a Rift and Touch bundle, giving you everything you need for immersive VR for £600, down from a previous combined price of £740 and a saving of around 19 percent.
How much does the Oculus Touch cost? Where can I buy the Oculus Touch in the UK?
A major announcement after the 11 June 2015 event was that the Oculus Rift wouldn't come with a proprietary controller. Instead, thanks to partnership with Microsoft, it would ship with an Xbox One Wireless Controller.
The Xbox Controller was just the start as Oculus Touch, Oculus' answer to HTC Vive's bespoke controllers, are now available to buy. Oculus Touch are new wireless controllers which track your hands. There is one for each hand and features an analogue stick, two buttons and a trigger. There's also haptic feedback and a matrix of sensors which can identify poses like pointing, waving and thumbs up.
After pre-orders opened back in October 2016, the Oculus Touch controllers were available to buy in the UK for a rather expensive £189.99. However, following a GDC 2017 announcement, Oculus has now dropped the price of the Touch controllers to £100, representing a saving of £90. So, where can you pick them up? You'll be glad to know that if you live in the UK, you can pick them up from not only from Oculus but at GAME and of course Amazon.
Facebook CEO shows off prototype Oculus Rift gloves
While the recent release of the Oculus Touch controllers were welcomed by Oculus fans, it seems as if the company is working on something much more advanced - if photos from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are anything to go by, anyway. During a recent trip to Oculus, the Facebook CEO shared a few photos on the social network, showcasing a little bit of what Oculus is working on.
The above photo was posted on Facebook, with Zuckerberg explaining a little more in the caption. "We're working on new ways to bring your hands in virtual and augmented reality. Wearing these gloves, you can draw, type on a virtual keyboard, and even shoot webs like Spider Man. That's what I'm doing here."
Of course, the gloves are only a prototype at this stage and may never make it to market, but the fact that Zuckerberg is willing to show them off bodes well for the future. He wouldn't want to show off something that isn't coming to market in some form, right? He teased that there are specially built labs that let them experiment not only with virtual, but also augmented reality. "We've built labs that let us quickly make new kinds of lenses and devices to push the boundaries of virtual and augmented reality" he claimed, in another photo caption.
Following a rather dramatic court case between ZeniMax Media and Oculus, a Texas jury ruled that Oculus broke non-disclosure agreements during the early days of Rift development, resulting in a massive payout to game publisher ZeniMax. ZeniMax brought the lawsuit to Oculus claiming that its' trade secrets were stolen and used to develop the Oculus Rift. While the Jury didn't find that to be the case, it awarded the $500m damages due to the violated NDA and copyright & trademark infringement.
However, if you thought that was bad, Oculus could be in for more bad news if ZeniMax seeks (and succeeds) to temporarily halt Rift sales. According to Polygon, the company has said that it wants to seek a court order that'll block both Facebook and Oculus from selling the Rift, although Oculus is staying tight-lipped on current goings-on.
Oculus co-founder discusses the future of VR at CES 2017
Talking to TechRadar at CES 2017, Oculus co-founder Jack McCauley has revealed his personal opinion of the Oculus Rift, along with where Oculus could improve with future releases.
McCauley described the consumer Oculus Rift as "heavy and costly", going on to explain that "They need to reduce the cost of it, and if that means sacrificing a few features that are incremental improvements, that's what they need to do". A very brutal but yet honest and refreshing answer.
However, his opinion on where VR is going is more interesting. Despite not providing an experience similar to the Oculus Rift at the moment, McCauley believes that mobile VR is the future, not VR powered by high-end gaming PCs. "Oculus announced its sales numbers on Wednesday and it sold 5,000,000 Gear VR units. That's very impressive. That's a smash hit ... it's kind of looking like it's mobile".
With companies like Oculus, Samsung and Google all developing and pushing mobile VR to consumers, it may well be a mobile-powered VR future.
Xbox One and Windows 10 compatibility
There's more Xbox related news as you're finally able to stream games from the console to the Oculus Rift using the newly released Xbox One streaming app. While the app won't make all your games automatically VR-ready, you're able to play games in a virtual theatre which is a little like sitting in a cinema, rather than your room. It's a good thing if you have a really small room and want a sense of more space.
There's currently a choice of three virtual theatres in which to play, with your Xbox games appearing on a virtual cinema screen in front of you. The screen can be adjusted in terms of position and shape, to match your personal preferences. While it's not a game changer, it gives a little more value to the £549 headset, especially if you own both a PC and an Xbox One.
Oculus has also confirmed that the Rift works natively with Windows 10 after working closely with Microsoft during development stages.
Specifications and features
We now know that the final consumer model of the Oculus Rift features custom optics and display. The firm said it has two OLED screens (combined resolution of 2160x1200) with low latency so there's no blur or visible pixels. A new constellation tracking system improves the experience as does integrated VR audio (you can use your own headset too). Oculus said the Rift is fabric-coated and has a new lighter and more egonomic design meaning you can put it on easier and it will be more comfortable to wear than previous versions. The headset allows you to adjust the lenses to suit your eyes since we all have a small difference in the distance between them.
Oculus Home is a VR portal, bringing all your games into one place. You land in Oculus Home as soon as you put on the Rift and you can check out your own games or see what others are playing, with a preview of a game before you buy it. A 2D version of Oculus Home also lets you manage games from your PC.
If you're looking for something a little more budget-friendly, why not take a look at the all-in-one Oculus Go VR headset?
What is Oculus Rift?
The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual-reality display. An immersive headset that gives the wearer a full 360-degree view of the virtual world they inhabit. The Oculus Rift pairs with headphones to make games, virtual worlds and live events feel 'real'. The Oculus Rift will go head to head with other virtual reality headsets such as Samsung's own Gear VR - itself made by Oculus.
It is being developed by Oculus VR, a startup that has raised $16 million of funding. A measure of the buzz generated by Oculus Rift can be gleaned from the fact that Facebook recently purchased Oculus Rift for $2bn. A developer version of Oculus Rift is out now, with a second-gen developer kit shipping this month, but excitement is building for a general launch to the public. (More details: Supercharged second-gen Oculus Rift developer kit revealed, open for preorders.)