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Oculus Rift begins shipping its virtual reality headsets

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SAN FRANCISCO — Four years after a blockbuster Kickstarter campaign, and two years after Facebook paid $2 billion to buy the company, Oculus is finally shipping its first consumer virtual reality headsets.

The first $600 Oculus Rift devices will start arriving on Monday, March 28.

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe tweeted the date on Thursday, along with a photo of a Rift box.

Oculus said that while the first units will arrive on Monday, not everyone will get theirs right away. The headsets will continue shipping to people who pre-ordered over the following weeks.

Pre-orders for the final goggles began in January 6, though various developer versions were already available. The first round of pre-orders sold out quickly, but Oculus would not say how many that included. Anyone who’s itching for a Rift but wasn’t able to preorder can try again this summer when the second round will go on sale.

The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual reality device that immerses the wearer in movies, games, and other experiences. It’s the most anticipated hardware release in a big year for virtual reality products. Other headsets launching this year include the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Lower tech versions that work with smartphones like the Samsung Gear VR and the DIY Google Cardboard are already available.

Inside the Oculus boxes are the headset, a sensor, an Xbox One controller, and a small remote control for navigating the Oculus ecosystem. Owners will be able to use their new headsets with 30 virtual reality games that also launch on Monday.

The Oculus Rift require a powerful computer to work. The company is offering its own Oculus Ready PCs for $1,499, though the systems aren’t shipping until April.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Facebook won’t be throwing any splashy Oculus launch parties to celebrate the milestone. Instead, early adopters will celebrate quietly in their own homes by escaping to other worlds through their new toys.