The HTC Vive has risen from the vaporware hell it seemed doomed for after several consecutive delays and commercial false starts, but the Taiwanese smartphone expert and Valve’s VR baby still needs more than a visual overhaul and minor functionality improvements to knock off the Oculus Rift.
This is not only the fledgling market’s veteran, OG and road-opener, looking good for an earlier launch after a couple of carefully polished development kits, but it’s also managed to cultivate a massive cult following ever since its 2012 crowd-funding debut.
Subsidized with a hefty $2.5 million back in the day on Kickstarter, the project grew so spectacularly fast that Facebook bought the whole company for $2 billion in cash and stock less than two years ago.
Now, to prove they haven’t forgotten their initial supporters, who took a gamble when few believed in the rapid rise of virtual reality, Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Nate Mitchell, and Michael Antonov are ready to give away Rift consumer versions.
Exactly who can qualify for the freebie? Anyone that pledged $275 and up for the very first developer edition as part of the original fund-raising campaign. And yes, you will be among the first to receive the fully refined, finished head-mounted display. With all the bundled goodies the masses shall get after pre-ordering on Oculus.com starting tomorrow, Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie included.
You just need to fill out a survey Kickstarter will send you before February 1, and provide a shipping address located in one of the 20 countries the Oculus Rift is launching in on January 6. For everyone else, an “alternative” of sorts is being worked on.