Oculus VR has finally begun shipment of its first consumer-ready headset, with the first of the pre-orders expected to arrive mid-week. The company shot to prominence in 2012 when its Kickstarter campaign raised $2.4 million from nearly 10,000 backers. Two years later, Facebook bought Oculus for around $2 billion.
Fans who backed the original crowdfunding campaign will be the first to receive the devices, followed by those who pre-ordered headsets back in January. The $599 Rift comes with a remote, audio system, a sensor, two games and an Xbox wireless controller. There are more than 30 games available on the Oculus Store and, according to reports, the company plans to add feature-length movies and a variety of other content soon.
The market for these head-mounted displays is expected to be worth $15.25 billion by 2020. It's being driven by an increased demand for HMDs in global gaming, where mobile-integrated VR headsets offer benefits such as portability, untethered aspect and ease of use. Smartphones and tablets are being used to extend an immersive experience in VR gaming and this is expected to result in 25.97% growth by 2019.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Oculus Rift is that not many computers are capable of handling its VR applications. The ones that do range anywhere from $1,499 to $3,000. Consumers may be drawn to cheaper alternatives, with Sony's VR device an attractive option for those who already own a PlayStation console.
With the HTC Vive set to be released in less than a week, and a slew of other companies lining up releases, this year is expected to be a big one for virtual reality devices. This overall VR market is projected to continue growing at a massive rate of 96.09% until 2019.
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