Sat. Jan 28th, 2023
Those who receive this early development kit will soon be getting the consumer version of the Rift for free.

Those who receive this early development kit will soon be getting the consumer version of the Rift for free.

More than 7,500 early adopters who provided initial funding for the Oculus Rift VR headset through the original Kickstarter will receive a free copy of the upcoming first consumer edition of the Rift, the company announced today.

Anyone who pledged at least $275 to get the first Rift Developer Kit during Oculus’ Kickstarter in August 2012 will soon be emailed a form asking for their shipping address. Oculus will ship the free “Kickstarter Edition” headsets (actually the consumer edition in a special box) to each of the 20 countries where the Rift launches, and is working on alternative shipping methods for backers in other countries. Those Kickstarter editions will be among the first consumer units to ship, Oculus says.

The free headset offer does not apply to those who purchased the second Rift Development Kit directly from Oculus last year. People who have backed the Kickstarter at smaller levels (who receive backer bonuses like stickers and t-shirts) are also not eligible for the free Rift for consumers.

“As one of Oculus’ early supporters, you helped make this revolution happen,” Oculus said in a letter to donors this morning. “You were there at the beginning of our journey – we couldn’t have done it without you. Today is a new chapter. Thank you!”

When Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion last year, some early Kickstarter backers publicly questioned whether they were being used as a $2.4 million springboard to a major corporate takeover — a springboard that couldn’t share in the eventual financial rewards. Today’s announcement is a nice tribute to those who put their money down in the days before Oculus, and virtual reality in general, were big items in the tech industry.

Oculus’ announcement comes as the company prepares to open pre-orders for the Rift on Wednesday morning ahead of an expected launch in the first quarter of the year. Oculus still hasn’t announced a price or specific launch date for the headset, and a company spokesperson tells Ars that information won’t be available until preorders go live tomorrow at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (11 a.m. ET). That means potential early adopters may have to make a split-second decision when that pre-order page goes up, unless they happen to be Kickstarter backers.

By akfire1

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