Oculus has announced that the retail version of the Oculus Rift hardware will be released in the first quarter of 2016, but past that not much is known about the hardware. Nate Mitchell, Oculus' vice president of product, gave a speech at TechCrunch Disrupt this afternoon and gave us a bit more information about what to expect.
"We haven't announced the pricing quite yet," Mitchell said, responding to the most obvious question. But he did give us some clues.
It is going to be "a little bit more expensive" than the Gear VR, which is a $200 device. Other than that he refused to give any information about the pricing other than to say it would be "affordable."
"We do see VR as a mass market product, and we want to get there," he said. That won't happen if the price is too high.
They also haven't announced the pre-order strategy, other than the fact you can pre-order the headset later this year through the Oculus website, but retail is an important part of the strategy. It's something people have to try and experience to understand what it can do, and that can't happen online. Events have already been a big part of their marketing, Nate says, for that reason. "We try to just get the technology out there so people can experience it," he explained.
You'll need a gaming PC, but everything else you need for the device will come in the box. He said you'll need something that can play "modern" games today, so a nice gaming PC is a must. We'll be getting more data about what you'll need to run the hardware "very soon." It sounds like we'll be getting a bit more information every week until launch, with concrete tech specs and pricing information being announced in drips and drabs.
Interestingly enough, Mitchell ducked the question about whether the retail Rift will run on Macs, saying more information is coming soon. The current developer kits are compatible with Macs, but the experience isn't optimal, mostly due to the lack of serious graphical power in most Apple products.
The hardware may also be coming to other platforms, including consoles. "We've talked to everyone, there are a lot of people right now interested in the VR space, and we said many times that we're interested in bringing the Rift to as many consoles or platforms as possible," Mitchell said. "Ultimately we haven't announced any partnerships to date, but it's something we're always exploring."
The interviewer said he would love to plug a Rift into a PlayStation 4. "Anything is possible," Mitchell said.