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Facebook’s Oculus Rift Virtual-Reality Headset to Ship in Early 2016

Oculus VR, the virtual-reality startup Facebook bought last year for $2 billion, said its Oculus Rift headset will begin shipping to consumers in the first quarter of 2016.

Price of the headset was not disclosed. Oculus said it will start taking pre-orders for the device later in 2015. Samsung Electronics, which struck a pact with Oculus last year to co-develop a VR headset, currently is selling its Samsung Gear VR headset for about $270.

“The Rift delivers on the dream of consumer VR with compelling content, a full ecosystem and a fully integrated hardware/software tech stack designed specifically for virtual reality,” Oculus said in a blog post Wednesday. “It’s a system designed by a team of extremely passionate gamers, developers and engineers to reimagine what gaming can be.”

Virtual reality presents a potentially tremendous opportunity for Hollywood to exploit a new form of storytelling. But the jury is still out on how audiences will respond to the new format.

Several entertainment companies have launched VR experiments, including Lionsgate’s 4-minute “Insurgent – Shatter Reality” promo for the latest theatrical release in the franchise and Fox Sports’ VR deal with NASCAR. But there’s a chicken-and-egg issue here: To reach a big audience, content producers want to know that there will be a sizable number of consumers who have compatible VR devices.

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