If you’ve pre-ordered an Oculus, however, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be getting a headset along with the first shipments. The company appeared to use a staggered pre-order system when the site first went live, selling out waves of production and then moving the expected ship date back for newer customers. You’ll be getting it in the first wave if you backed the project on Kickstarter at a certain level, but if you backed the project on Kickstarter you probably already knew that.
Oculus Rift will be the first of the three big headsets coming to market (excluding Gear VR, which is also an Oculus project), followed quickly by the HTC Vive and Playstation VR likely sometime in the holiday season. The Oculus has some advantages here: first to market never hurts, and Oculus still seems to retain a significant mindshare advantage by being the first of these modern VR headsets to go public. It’s not cheap, however: it’s cheaper than the high end HTC Vive, but significantly more expensive (including the necessary computing hardware) than the more approachable Playstation VR. I’d argue that the Windows platform is also an advantage over PSN: nobody knows what experiences are going to work best in VR, and the best thing for that right now is to get as many developers with as few restrictions as possible.
And there we are: day zero. Those in the video game industry have had plenty of chances to get their faces in a headset already, but it’s all been a prelude to these first consumer units. Will be people embrace it wholeheartedly, or be repelled cognitive dissonance and the uncanny valley? We’ll see soon!