In some kind of weird world we live in, we're about 40 hours out from the launch of Oculus pre-orders and it seems as if there is no details at all, beyond the freebies you get, and the fact it's likely to now to not launch with its controller, which last year we found would be sold apart from the device (which is the worst decision Oculus could make in my opinion). The reason for the split is likely to lower the cost and increase adoption, but without the inclusion of the controller, there won't be any mass adoption of the controllers themselves, making developers focus more on the VR friendly XBOX / Playstation controller setup, instead of going for the gold with the unique controllers. This topic has been covered for a long time, but with the delay in the controllers, this might be a rocky launch.
We don't know ship dates, pricing, quantity limits, or how many they intend on selling. We're not sure right now that as soon as the site goes live, it'll sell out within minutes, or if they currently have more than enough supply in the pipeline to meet demand. Without a price, it could land anywhere between $199 and $499. The developer unit was $299, but no word yet on what the consumer edition will be priced at. Suggestions are north of $300, even as far as $399, but at the same time, there is a lot more interest in making the technology accessible. A high price means gamers will likely put the system on hold, especially considering this will be early adopting the technology, and within a year a better unit will be available.
Of course, Facebook is behind Oculus, which means there isn't any need for additional funding. They have as big of pockets as they need, and should be able to produce as many units as demand has. The nature of the pre-orders will likely to see if they need to spool up 5 assembly lines or 4, on top of whatever they already have produced. As far as I understand, they have been shipping out the "final" edition to developers for final game polish for the last six months, so it could be the design and units are finished and being loaded into warehouses now, or it could be that they're going to judge demand, then produce based on it, who knows. I imagine after launch, with Facebook's backing, we'll see them in Gamestop and Wal-Mart, and everywhere else as well, assuming that demand doesn't exceed production and that FB couldn't somehow secure enough manufacturing for the devices.
Either way, we're completely clueless and it seems Oculus is staying mum until Wednesday. This is finally the time that we're going to see if this technology is going to hold up and be adapted, or go the way of the Virtual Boy. Until now, outside of the Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard, there hasn't been a strong contender, with most everything being development units or not having the mainstream backing Oculus has. With the launch of the Oculus consumer leading the way as other competiors come forward (Open VR, Playstation VR, etc.), this year should likely be the year of VR or, the year VR died.
I'm going to be waiting with baited breath over the Oculus announcement and pre-order, even as the SMITE World Championship takes off. I'm more curious to see if they will make a firm date on when the controller will happen. At CES, they've promised to keep it in Q1, but we'll see. Following that, HTC's Vive will be moving out in April, if Oculus has any issue at all meeting demand, it's likely HTC will pick up the slack, resulting in some fierce competition. In the mean time, Open-Source VR is working on making sure that no matter the hardware, software will support it, although with only Intel and Razer behind the project (and some other game devs and the such), we might see Oculus only games - but we'll see.
I'll be around Wednesday to provide any comments on what, when, and where the Oculus Pre-order plays out.
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