The Price for the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset: $599

Kurt Wagner
A participant demos Oculus VR glasses at CES 2016 in Las Vegas.
Justin Solomon | CNBC

The cost of virtual reality: expensive.

Facebook-owned Oculus opened preorders for its new virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, on Wednesday morning after years of pumping air into the product. Oculus showed off Rift and most of the features back at a press event in June. The few remaining unknowns were the cost and the actual shipping date.

Well not anymore! Buying an Oculus Rift headset will cost you a cool $599, according to the preorder website, and the devices are set to ship in March of this year. Update: It looks like the units shipping in March are already sold out. The current shipping date on the site now reads April 2016.

People play with virtual reality head gear 'Gear VR' of Oculus during the Tokyo Game Show.
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The $599 total cost includes two games, an Oculus remote and an Xbox One Controller (for gaming). Not included: A high-powered Windows PC. The shop page offers a downloadable tool to check if your PC will be compatible with the Rift, but most won't be; you need special hardware, not a software update, to power virtual reality.

That makes the Rift a pricey option for the general consumer still trying to decide if VR is worth his time. For comparison, the Samsung Gear VR headset, a lower-end headset that requires a Samsung smartphone to operate, is selling for a modest $99 retail.

Big biz of virtual reality
Big biz of virtual reality

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The Oculus Rift price is not a surprise, though. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said the package would cost around $1500 when he spoke at Re/code's annual Code Conference back in May, but that included the aforementioned PC needed to operate it. The $599 price tag does not. So while the Rift won't be kind to your wallet, you had fair warning.

By Kurt Wagner, Re/

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