The original Oculus Rift Kickstarter went live in August 2012, and since then it's been a long, long wait for the finished consumer version of the headset to go on sale. That wait is almost over: pre-orders officially start this Wednesday, January 6 at 8am Pacific Time.
Oculus (now owned by Facebook) announced the news in a blog post, though it's pretty light on details: we don't know how much it's going to cost, where in the world it will be available to order, or when the headset is actually going to ship to buyers, other than sometime in Q1. "We'll be sharing everything you need to know to order your Rift on Wednesday when pre-orders go live," promises Oculus.
Even with so little to go on, it's a landmark moment in the next-generation VR movement. Headsets from HTC and Sony are following later this year, so Oculus will be hoping it can gain an advantage by getting out of the door early. There's also Samsung's Gear VR, a lower-cost alternative that uses a smartphone as a display and graphics processor, which is already on sale.
We do know that every pre-ordered Rift will come with two games, Lucky Tale and EVE: Valkyrie. It's also been confirmed that the launch of the proprietary Touch controllers has been pushed back to the second half of 2016, so you're going to have to make do with the bundled Xbox One controller to begin with.
If you're thinking of splashing an unspecified amount of cash on the Rift, you might want to read up on the recommended specs for the VR headset first – the kit will need a pretty powerful Windows PC to go alongside it.
With CES happening this week and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey scheduled to appear on a Reddit AMA on Wednesday, we should be hearing plenty more about the Rift in the days ahead. In the meantime, it's a relief to have a confirmed pre-order date to count down to.