Oculus VR just pulled back the curtain for a peek at the long anticipated consumer version of its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The updated hardware will be available to consumers in Q1 of 2016, with pre-orders starting before the end of the year.

That release window is likely to disappoint a few VR enthusiasts, who were hoping for a 2015 release, but after more than two years of prototypes and developer kits, at least we finally have a solid release window.

According to Oculus VR, the refined headset will increase levels of presence and immersion experienced with last year's developer-focused Crescent Bay prototype. The consumer product features a new, slick looking design and offers improved ergonomics to provide a more comfortable user experience.

The company has also worked to improve the headset's tracking system, and there will reportedly be a wealth of compatible content at launch – something we can no-doubt attribute to the product's lengthy public development. It will also support both sitting and standing modes.

Competition in the virtual reality space has been heating up over the last year, with key rivals emerging in the form of Sony's upcoming Project Morpheus headset, which works with the PS4 console, and the HTC Vive. Oculus is also partnering with Samsung on the best VR experience you can buy today, the smartphone-based Gear VR. In light of the VR fever that's spreading like wildfire across tech companies, it's no surprise that Oculus is keen to get the consumer version of its PC-based Oculus Rift to market.

The company plans to release more information about the headset, as well as details of new made-for-VR software, in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can check out Gizmag's hands-on impressions of the Crescent Bay prototype.

Source: Oculus VR

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