Everything you need to know about the launch of the Oculus Rift, Facebook's new virtual reality headset

After a long, three-year journey from Kickstarter to Facebook acquisition to reality, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will finally be available in the first quarter of next year, Oculus announced at an event in San Francisco today.

Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe showed off the final Rift headset — the one you’ll actually be able to buy.

Oculus rift hardwareBen GilbertThe final Oculus Rift design.

“It’s light, you can hold it with one hand,” Iribe said. “It feels like you just put on a pair of glasses.”

Oculus riftBen GilbertUsing an Xbox controller with Oculus Rift.

Iribe also announced that the Oculus Rift will ship with a Microsoft Xbox One controller in the box along with the wireless adaptor needed to use with a PC, so you can play virtual reality games.

The inclusion of an Xbox One controller with the Oculus Rift is the result of a new partnership between Oculus and Microsoft, which will bring VR games to Windows 10 in addition to Xbox One games like Halo 5 and Forza Motorsport.

Unlike the preview hardware that developers have been using for the past couple of years, the final Oculus Rift has two OLED screens to maximise the quality of the VR image.

Iribe also talked up some new features coming to the final Oculus Rift hardware: It will come with a motion-tracking camera that sits next to your computer screen and keeps track of the movements of your head.

Oculus camera eventBen GilbertOculus Rift’s motion tracking camera.

The Oculus Rift will also come with stereo earphones for immersive sound, but you can take them off and wear your own headset if you want.

Another major factor in the final Oculus Rift design is the ergonomics, made to slip on “like a baseball cap” and comfortable to wear. There’s also a dial to adjust the lens distance so the picture doesn’t hurt your eyes. The headset can also be comfortably worn with glasses.

Oculus rift ergonomicsBen GilbertThe Oculus Rift headset.

“That’s also something we learned over the years,” Iribe says.

As for what you’ll be able to do with the Oculus Rift: The company announced partnerships with a bunch of game companies for “made-for-VR games and experiences.”

CCP, the company that makes the VR spacefighter dogfight simulation EVE Valkyrie that Facebook showed off at this year’s F8 event, took the stage to announce that the “pure combat” game was coming “next year.”

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