The consumer version of Oculus Rift will hit retail during the first quarter of 2016. Oculus VR dropped the news in an announcement this morning. The news was accompanied by two new pictures of the headset.

oculus rift consumer model

rift consumer model

Here’s a picture of the most recent prototype, Crescent Bay, to compare.

Oculus rift crescent bay prototype

Oculus Rift’s Kickstarter paved the way

Virtual reality has always been a dream. It has been tried before, but the technology was never quite there to make it good. Then, came a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 – which would go on to raise $2.4 million.

This Kickstarter would ultimately lead to a much bigger push into VR. Today, we see companies like Sony and Valve jumping aboard the VR bandwagon. Other companies, like Microsoft, are taking a different approach with augmented reality.

How Rift’s final version differs from past prototypes

Oculus touched on a few of the improvements they have made since their Crescent Bay prototype. The new version builds on the “presence, immersion and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype.” This means a better tracking system and an update to the ergonomics for a better fit.

The new tracking system will support seated or standing experiences.

Oculus plans to talk a lot more about the Rift in the coming weeks. We should hear more about the games coming to Rift during next month’s E3 Expo. As for tech specs? Oculus is planning a blog post next week to dive into the specifics.

“Virtual reality is going to transform gaming, film, entertainment, communication, and much more,” said Oculus in a statement.

The application in games is a known quantity. I’m interested to see what developers have in mind for communication, film and other avenues.

Now that we have a release date, are you going to pick one up? What kind of killer app would you need to see to convince you Oculus Rift is a must have? Let me know in the comments below.

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