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Oculus Rift VR Headset Consumer Model Launch Set For Early 2016: Too Little, Too Late?

Oculus VR has announced an early 2016 release date for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that many see as the most important virtual reality headset to date.

It is not, however, the only virtual reality headset on the market, with a number of other products being released in the VR market so far. So, did Oculus wait too long with the Oculus Rift?

"Today, we're incredibly excited to announce that the Oculus Rift will be shipping to consumers in Q1 2016, with pre-orders later this year," said Oculus VR in a statement. "The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem, and a fully-integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality. It's a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers, and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be."

While the Oculus Rift is sure to be a great device, it won't be the consumer-level virtual reality device that many expect it to be. The market has changed since Oculus VR first announced that it was working on the Rift, with consumers now turning to more affordable options such as using their phone as a virtual reality headset with things like Google Cardboard.

Now, that does not, of course, mean that the Oculus Rift won't serve a purpose. The device is being touted as almost a strictly gaming device, and it is highly likely that there will be a limited selection of games at the start.

Having said that, Oculus has been getting rave reviews ever since it began offering the headset to developers and advertising its new device. The Oculus Rift represents something of a "premium" virtual reality experience, with makeshift headsets using things like Google Cardboard being more the norm among consumers.

There's no question that a virtual reality revolution is on its way, but there is a question as to what will be leading the way. The Oculus Rift will likely serve one market — the gaming market. As for what we could consider a standard issue virtual reality device, that's still up for debate.

Oculus VR has sure had a long road. The company first announced its prototype back in late 2012, starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the device. The company was then bought by Facebook in March 2014, with Facebook paying a whopping $2 billion. It's still unknown as to what Facebook plans to do with the company and how it will integrate with the virtual reality headset.

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