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RIFT IN TIME

You’ll finally be able to order your own Oculus Rift this week

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Just like this guy.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

Over half a year after Facebook’s Oculus showed off its first virtual reality headset to consumers, the company announced that the Rift will be available for pre-order starting Jan. 6 at 8am US Pacific Time (6pm GMT).

Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014—paying $2 billion when the headset was still just a prototype—said in a blog post that the Rift will come bundled with two games: Lucky’s Tale, a platformer based around an eponymous fox, and EVE: Valkyrie, a first-person shooter set in space, which feels a lot like piloting an X-Wing against a Death Star. The company hasn’t announced a price, even though the Rift is going on sale in less than two days, but it’s expected to cost more than the $350 that the most recent developer version cost, and will require a desktop computer to run high-definition videogame graphics.

Last week, Oculus said it won’t release its handheld sensor for the Rift, the Oculus Touch, until the second half of 2016. Until then, users will have to make do with regular videogame controllers to play their new VR games. There was no word on when the Rift will actually start shipping, nor whether any games besides the two bundled with it will be launched when it does.

Oculus wasn’t immediately available for comment. CEO Palmer Lucky will be answering questions on launch day on Reddit, at 6pm PT. Perhaps he’ll be able to fill in some of the missing gaps then.

A competing VR system from HTC, called the Vive, is expected to launch in April, with a big update to be shown off this week during the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently made it his mission for the year to make an artificially intelligent system to control his entire house, which he said will run off Oculus and will feel like Jarvis, Tony Stark’s virtual assistant in the Iron Man comics. Perhaps this time next year, we’ll all be able to strap on our Rift headsets, tell our houses what we want them to do, sit back, relax, and play our favorite immersive video game. Assuming Zuckerberg fulfills his personal challenge, and the games on the Rift don’t make us all terribly motion sick.

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