The world of VR technology is poised to hit the market in a very big way this year with more than a few big name manufacturers slated to release their products for consumers, including Sony and HTC. One of those products is the Oculus Rift which is finally ready to go up for pre-order as of 8 am tomorrow morning, January 6th, when anyone who is interested in grabbing one of these will be able to plunk down an unspecified amount of cash to snag one from the first batch of units. That is, except for the individuals who backed the Oculus Rift on Kickstarter, as Oculus has just announced they will be providing them with free finalized models.
Not all Kickstarter backers will receive the Rift for free, as Oculus states that they will only be compensating any backers who put down enough money to pick up one of the development kits. That means those individuals already paid a hefty sum to get in on the ground floor with this technology years ago which is well before it was finished, and essentially they already purchased the Rift in a way. Although pre-orders go live tomorrow, there has been no mention of when units will actually ship, so naturally Oculus is also being quiet on when they'll send out the free headsets to those that purchased the dev kits through Kickstarter.
Much like the pre-order units and any purchased units when the headset officially launches, the free models being passed out will come with two free games as well, which includes Lucky's Tale and the much more anticipated EVE: Valkyrie which is a first person space shooter. This is a smart move from Oculus as it should reinvigorate any lost excitement from early backers, assuming there was any excitement lost to begin with. It also displays that what was once just an ambitious project has grown into something much more vibrant with a successful future ahead of it, although it's worth noting that now being owned by Facebook likely helped the capability to send early backers free Rift headsets. In any case, there are going to be a number of really happy early Rift users soon.