Want an Oculus Rift? You’ll have to wait until 2016

Oculus

Consumers will have to wait until at least the beginning of next year for a Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset, according to the Facebook-owned company.

Fans will be able to place pre-orders later this year, Oculus said in a blog post Wednesday.

Oculus, the company behind the headset, showed off a prototype known as "Crescent Bay" at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the first retail version will be an evolution of this.

"The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit," the company said.

Facebook closed its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus, which originally started up as a Kickstarter project in 2012, last year.

More details to come

Pricing was not detailed but during a session at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference on Wednesday, Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell said the headset could cost more than Samsung's own version – known as the Gear VR - which retails at around $200.

More details are expected from Oculus over the next few weeks.

"We'll be revealing the details around hardware, software, input, and many of our unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift," the company said.

Oculus Rift is known mainly as a gaming platform and the race to dominate this space is already heating up.

Sony, the maker of the PlayStation gaming console, announced in March that its own VR headset will be available to consumers in the first half of 2016. An earlier this year, HTC and Valve Software – the operator of the largest PC game digital distribution platform Steam – announced a VR headset called Vive.

Content is key

Sony's headset is likely to work with its own console while Vive would work with the large base of users playing games downloaded via Steam. This would give Sony, HTC and Valve and existing audience.

Oculus opened up to developers last year in order for content compatible with the headset to be generated. Having quality content on the Rift and games that people want to play will be the key to success but the appetite is there for a new experience, analysts said.

"Obviously the content they can get on there is pretty key," Heloise Thomson, gaming analyst at Enders Analysis, told CNBC by phone.

"The latest generation of consoles haven't been able to provide something new. They have improved the performance but now the market and people are ready for something new."