Oculus Rift: UK launch and price revealed
The virtual reality headset is about to become much easier to buy, but slightly more expensive
Virtual reality looks set to go mainstream in 2016, with one of the year's most hyped headsets finally being given an official launch date and price in the UK.
The Oculus Rift will go on sale on 20 September, priced at £549 and with a free game, announced the Facebook-owned company.
The headset has been available worldwide for £499 since the end of March but until now, UK customers have had to buy straight from Oculus and many early adopters have hit severe delays.
Now, however, they'll be able to pre-order from major outlets such as Amazon, Game, John Lewis, Currys and Harrods. Try-before-you-buy demonstrations will also be available.
Oculus's rival, Sony, will release its VR headset for the PlayStation 4 games console a month after its September retail launch. The PlayStation VR, is set to retail from £349.
Oculus Rift orders face lengthy delays
Many customers who have pre-ordered the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will have to wait some time before getting their hands on the device.
First deliveries took place in late March, but supply chain issues means the company has since knocked back the shipping date for several of its orders by months.
Customers now face waiting until August to receive their headset, while many of those who pre-ordered on the Rift's first day of availability have been sent shipping dates ranging from May to June.
According to Polygon, the fact that customers could be waiting four months to get hold of the Rift shows that Oculus's launch has become "increasingly dire". The company, which has blamed the mess on a parts shortage, waived the cost of shipping for pre-order customers after first raising the alarm earlier this month, but it seems as this could be an "ongoing issue" and could get worse.
Many customers have taken to Oculus web forums to vent their frustrations, says Eurogamer.
Wired says that there has been a "confusing message" for those who backed the company during its time on Kickstarter. It was revealed that early backers would receive a finished unit for free once shipments began, but many have had their shipping dates changed to "TBD" - To Be Determined. Oculus has said that these headsets are from a "different allocation", though, so delays may not be as severe.
The Verge approached Oculus for comment, to ask if the delay would hamper plans for the device to appear in retail stores. The company said that it hadn't announced retail plans yet but information would be coming soon – so it's unclear if some pre-order customers will actually end up getting their device after it goes on shop shelves.
"With competitors breathing down its neck this year, Oculus is only setting itself back," says CNN.
Some of those competitors have ran into similar problems – HTC has endured launch problems with its Vive headset, but promises that delivery dates for pre-orders won't change.
In a statement, Oculus said that it had taken steps to address the component shortage, and has increased its overall manufacturing capacity to clear the backlog.