Oculus Rift VR headsets shipped to Kickstarter backers

Oculus Rift VR headsets shipped to Kickstarter backers

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Oculus Rift VR headsets shipped to Kickstarter backers

Oculus recently shipped its first consumer virtual reality headsets, setting a major milestone for the industry.

The groundbreaking headsets, retailing for $599 and now backordered until at least July, allow high-quality, super immersive virtual reality viewing in a small package — a remarkable innovation those in the space have been holding out hope for for years.

However, mass adoption of the technology may still be a ways off: consumers need a powerful gaming PC to operate the headset, and the founder of Oculus said he has no immediate plans to make the headset compatible with Apple’s Macs.

During the development of the Oculus headset, cheaper virtual reality sets that work with cellphones — such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard — have come on the market. However, critics say they are not quite sophisticated enough to be a relaxing viewing experience beyond enjoying the novelty of the medium. All these caveats aside, it’s a big day for the tech world, as one of the long-promised futuristic gadgets hits the market. Those who in 2013 backed Oculus on crowdfunding site Kickstarter — raising $2.4m — get the first ones.

Like self-driving cars, virtual reality has always been on the verge of reality. Many critics say VR is like 3D TV — an overblown fad that will fade with time.

Or that they will be like Google Glass — so socially awkward that users will be shamed for wearing them. Luckey delivered the first one to the first backer in Alaska.

“I said, hey guys, I’ve been working on this since 2009, we’ve been working on Oculus since 2012, I’ll be damned if some random delivery guy is going to get the satisfaction of delivering the first Rift. That’s mine,” Luckey told the tech blog Polygon. “So I could figure I could take a day out of the launch process and take a quick vacation in Alaska.”

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