While people have been talking and writing about the virtual-reality headset since 2012, it's always qualified with words like "developer kit" or "prototype" or "pre-release version." Well, forget qualification: Nearly four years after it made people finally start believing in VR, the Oculus Rift is showing up at people's houses starting today.
This makes it the first high-end consumer VR system to come to market. It'll soon be joined by others—the HTC Vive begins shipping next month, and Sony's Playstation VR arrives this fall—but it's the Rift that's leading the charge into superpowered, PC-driven immersion. That means that smartphone substitutes like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, despite being fine for what they can do, and in some cases even great, are now virtual reality's JV team.