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Oculus Rift shipping in Q1, 2016

Pre-orders open later this year, final hardware specs expected soon

Oculus has announced that the first commercially available Rift headset will launch in the first quarter of next year, with pre-orders for the device opening later in 2015.

The blog post revealing the schedule was light on other details, but did promise that more information would be forthcoming soon. Nonetheless, it sounds like there will be improvements made over the current demo kit doing the rounds of developers and trade shows.

"The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.

"In the weeks ahead, we'll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift. Next week, we'll share more of the technical specifications here on the Oculus blog."

Currently, Valve's Vive HMD looks like it will be the first of the new wave of VR hardware to hit the market, with a predicted launch date of November 2015. Sony's Morpheus is still expected in 2016, although no firm date has been given.

Update: In a note sent to Facebook investors, Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter remarked that he believes Oculus will face supply problems initially. "While there is not yet any info on pricing or available units, we expect relatively small number of units and think that the initial device will be supply constrained," he said. "We think that the early versions of the device will be more about showing what is possible from gaming and other entertainment genres, and build demand for later versions of the device."

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