— -- After four years -- and a high profile $2 billion acquisition from Facebook -- the first consumer Oculus headsets are being delivered this week.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey traveled to Anchorage, Alaska, this weekend to hand deliver the first consumer headset to Ross Martin, an indie developer who has the distinction of being the first customer to pre-order Oculus Rift in January.
"It was awesome delivering the first Rift to Ross - we have a lot in common! We are both big gamers, and we were both homeschooled as kids. The biggest difference is that I grew up with surfboards while he grew up with sled dogs," Luckey wrote in a Facebook post. "Take care of it, Ross, hundreds of man-years are tied up in that thing!"
There has been plenty of buzz around Oculus and the experiences developers can create, ranging from games to virtual vacations and real estate tours; however, there's nothing flashy about the Oculus launch this week. The high price tag of $599 -- plus the requisite high performance PC needed to operate the headset -- puts Oculus in a price range that makes it still inaccessible to the masses.
"It's not going to be everyone in the whole world using virtual reality — or even gamers using virtual reality," Luckey said at the Game Developers Conference last week, according to the Associated Press. "There is going to be an adoption curve over time, starting with early adopters or PC gamers who either own or are willing to buy a high-end PC. In that sense, it is part of a multi-year process."
The consumer headset ships with a wireless Xbox One controller and adapter to enhance the gaming experience, along with two games: "EVE: Valkyrie" and "Lucky’s Tale." Pre-orders are currently backed up until July, according to the Oculus website.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said last year that Oculus will work with Windows 10, making it easy for gamers to jump-start their experiences and stream their existing games to Oculus.
Oculus is also working on Oculus Touch, which are wireless controllers that wrap around a player's hands, allowing intuitive actions in VR feel as though users are working with their real hands -- even allowing them to pick up objects in their virtual world.