2016 is going to be the year of virtual reality, with a number of VR headsets scheduled to hit the market over the next several months. The three major VR products set to release this year are the Kickstarted (and now Facebook-owned) Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and Sony's recently priced PlayStation VR. Assuming that the technology is well-received by consumers, the hardware developers will be spending the foreseeable future differentiating their products and creating exclusive content for their platforms.
The first major VR headset to hit this year is the Oculus Rift, set to launch on March 28th, 2016 for those who managed to secure a pre-order. The price point is currently $599, a price that is significantly higher than original estimates. That didn't deter consumers, however, as the device quickly sold out and is now back-ordered through July. That pre-order also comes with two games - the space flight simulator Eve: Valkyrie and 3D Platformer Lucky's Tale.
With the Game Developer's Conference 2016 currently taking place in San Francisco, California, Oculus has taken the opportunity to announce and demo a full list of launch titles. The full slate includes thirty diverse titles, from immersive racing games like Project CARS to a licensed Adventure Time game. In addition to the launch titles, the developers have stated that over one hundred more titles are expected to be released on the platform by the end of the year. Check out the full list of launch titles below:
The prices of the titles vary from free-to-play to full-priced game releases, averaging out to around $20 per title. A comprehensive list of prices is available here. The list seems to have titles geared towards fans of any genre of games, from puzzle games to strategy games to action RPGs. Players will have the opportunity to explore a space station in Adrift, enter a simulated race in Project CARS, and explore the horror/mystery of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Perhaps the most surprising titles are the third-person adventure games Herobound SC and Chronos, as a third-person point-of-view isn't typically associated with an immersive headset.
It's worth noting that a number of these launch titles have been previously available on other platforms. Some, as is the case with Project CARS, will also be launching on PlayStation VR later this year. It's hard to imagine that any of these titles on their own will be enough to push those on the fence to pre-order the device, but the impressive launch slate makes for a solid showing. If anything, it indicates that the developer will be supporting the device long-term.
Oculus also introduced the new version of Oculus Home for Rift. Essentially, Home serves as a hub where players can connect with their friends and explore new titles available on the device. The hub previously launched on the Samsung Gear VR, which utilizes Oculus tech, but the developers have indicated the Rift version will feature a number of upgrades. The hub can also be accessed through the Oculus desktop app.
Outside of the launch games, the developer hasn't revealed what apps will be available on the device at launch. It's likely that the list will include Netflix and Oculus Social Alpha, as the two are currently available on the Samsung Gear VR. Additionally, since Facebook acquire Oculus in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg has indicated his belief that VR will become the next social platform. As such, Facebook has a team of developers, led by designers Daniels James and Michael Booth, working on social apps for the platform. It's possible that these projects won't be complete in time for the launch window, but their development has been officially confirmed.
Further information about Oculus Rift apps is expected in the coming days.
Oculus Rift begins shipping on March 28th, 2016.