New research report assesses Oculus Rift and overall VR market

(c)iStock.com/Christopher Ames

Analyst house Research and Markets argues in its latest note the much-awaited VR headset Oculus Rift has finally begun shipments, with the first pre-orders expected to have been delivered earlier this month.

Oculus rose to fame with its Kickstarter campaign in 2012, bringing in nearly 10,000 backers, raising $2.4 million and playing a key founding role in the currently fledgling but fast-rising VR market.

Now a Facebook company, Oculus has delivered its first headsets to the first backers of its original crowdfunding campaign. This will be followed by those who pre-ordered the headsets in January 2016. The $599 Rift will come with an audio system, remote, sensor, a Microsoft Xbox wireless controller and two games. The Oculus store has over 30 games at present, and the company plans to include feature-length movies and other content in the near future.

The market for these VR headsets is set to growth $15.25 billion by 2020, driven by the rising demand for head-mounted displays in gaming. Mobile-integrated VR headsets provide an untethered experience, portability and ease of use. Tablets and smartphones are being used for VR gaming, and this is expected to drive 25.97% growth by 2019.

The Oculus Rift, however, also faces significant criticism. The key complaint is that only higher-end computers ranging from $1,499 to $3,000 can handle the Oculus Rift's VR applications. Cheaper alternatives such as Sony's VR device may prove more attractive, especially for those who already have a PlayStation.

A number of other companies are releasing their own VR headsets in 2016, including the HTC Vive.

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