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Oculus Rift gaming headset delayed, developer kits now shipping in March 2013

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Oculus Rift headset prototype
Oculus Rift headset prototype

When the the Oculus Rift VR gaming headset hit Kickstarter in August supporters were expecting their development kits to arrive before the end of this year, but the company has hit a snag — and the kits are now set to ship in March of 2013. A detailed post on the company's blog explains that Oculus has been trying to turn around more than 7,500 kits in response to the Kickstarter campaign, but that it has been forced to make some tweaks and changes as it moved to the manufacturing process. One of the most vital components — the 5.6-inch LCD display itself — needed to be swapped out after the unit the company had been using in prototypes was discontinued. According to Oculus, the 7-inch replacement "beats the old display in almost every key area," though it is slightly heavier. The company is also creating its own motion sensor for the Rift, which should be included in the units shipping in March; earlier Rift prototypes used an off-the-shelf component.

Oculus estimates that the majority of Kickstarter backers will receive their units in March, though the full slate of orders will not be filled until April. For those that have taken advantage of the development kit pre-orders Oculus is offering on its website, the wait will be just a bit longer: the company is scheduled to ship those units starting in late April after all Kickstarter orders have been filled.