Oculus Rift Costs $599, Available for Pre-Order

Two days ago, Oculus announced that the consumer version (CV1) of the Rift would be available for pre-order in 48 hours.  Fast forward to today, and while we still don’t know concrete stats, we do at least know a price and what we’re getting.

The Oculus Rift costs $599.99 in the US and is available in 19 other countries for pre-order, albeit, usually at a higher price thanks to taxes and exchange rates.  For the money you get the Rift, headphones, mic, sensor, Xbox One controller and Oculus Remote.

Pre-orders will ship on March 28th, but if you order a Rift right now – 10 hours after pre-ordering opened – you won’t receive yours until May.  A limited supply will be available to retailers in April.

So, what’s the sim racing angle for the Rift?

Ever since the first developer Rift (DK1) hit consumer hands – even though that wasn’t the point of the developer kit – the Rift has been heavily used in sim racing.  The response?  Polarizing.

Some users think it’s the best thing since slice bread…while others not so much.

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What will determine the Rift’s – or any other virtual reality (VR) headset – impact on the market will be how it performs.  At this time it’s hard to say.

What we do know is that it will require a strong system to run it.  Oculus states that you’ll need at least an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 to run it.  Neither of those – especially the triple BenQ XR3501 powering GTX 970 – are no slouch.  And keep in mind, minimum specs usually means, “it kind of works.”

Hopefully this need for more power is due to a much improved resolution, which was one of the major complaints of the DK2.

The other minimum spec that has a sim racing impact is the prerequisite of DX11.  Oculus does not support DX9 anymore.  This eliminates titles such as iRacing (for now), RaceRoom and rFactor 2.  And on the flip side, the developer must support the Rift.

This all equals up to a lot of question marks, especially for those looking to be an early adopter.  While I don’t think the $600 price tag is bad – especially for sim racing – it is still a somewhat unproven piece of hardware.  If you spend that much money on a monitor or a graphics card, you more-or-less know what your getting into.

A VR headset in January 2016?  Not as much.  It’s a gamble.  I hope it pays off.