Facebook-owned Oculus VR has confirmed that its Rift headset is to follow rival HTC's Vive into high-street outlets, with an official launch scheduled for September 20.
Although the Oculus Rift was officially the 'first' current-generation virtual reality headset to hit retail outlets, it did so exclusively in North America and in extremely limited numbers even as pre-order customers were awaiting shipment notifications. Since that largely paper launch, Oculus has been quiet about international retail availability - until now. In a blog post
, Oculus VR confirmed that the headset would be hitting high-street shops in Europe and Canada - including the UK - on September 20.
Although retail availability solves one of the major problems with the current virtual reality revolution, one aspect has sadly become even worse: pricing. While the Oculus Rift headset was previously available for £499 direct from Oculus VR's website, the high-street stock is being priced at £549. No reason for the rise has been offered, though a combination of retailer margin and the struggling Pound Sterling seems the most likely explanation. Confirmed outlets include John Lewis, Curry's PC World, Game, and online at Amazon.
The retail launch also loses one of the two games bundled with pre-order editions. EVE: Valkyrie, the built-for-VR offshoot of the eponymous space-faring MMO, was dropped from bundles in April, with the UK retail models coming only with the platformer Luckey's Tale. The retail pack also includes the required head-tracking sensor, Oculus Remote, and an Xbox One controller; thus far, Oculus VR is still silent on a formal launch date for the promised Vive-like VR-specific Oculus Touch controllers, though developers have begun receiving their beta incarnation.