You may not have realised, but as people anxiously await delivery of the consumer Oculus Rift, today marks almost exactly 3 years since the original Kickstarter-backed Oculus Rift DK1 shipped to developers. Here’s the original unboxing video from Oculus and a quick look back over events that sparked the VR revolution.
Step back with us to March 2013 for a spot of nostalgic navel gazing, something to help kill some time before that pesky delivery driver arrives with your consumer Rift.
After one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of the crowdfunding platforms young life, the world’s interest in virtual reality was re-ignited as the Oculus Rift headset campaign exceeded its original goal just a tad, finishing on September 1st with over 9000 backers and a cool $2.4 Million dollars raised.
The original Kickstarter delivery estimate for those pledging enough to receive an assembled Oculus Rift Developer Kit, was a staggeringly optimistic December 2012 – giving the small, but growing Oculus team just 3 months to design and fabricate a VR headset robust enough to fuel the beginnings of a VR revolution at the grass roots developer level.
Staggeringly, although the delivery date was inevitably pushed back, Oculus pulled out all the stops and still managed to begin shipments of the Oculus Rift DK1 on March 28th 2013 – just 8 months after the original Kickstarter campaign had begun.
To celebrate the achievement, and to announce the imminent arrival of the first VR headset to ship in any numbers for decades, the Oculus team proudly released an unboxing video showing the now famous flight case and contents.
As we reported back then, the pre-Facebook acquisition Oculus faced a daunting task just getting the devices to people’s doors. Oculus stated in a blog post on March 21st 2013:
We hope you’re ready– Dev kits should start shipping out to the earliest backers on March 29th (we may slip a day or two in either direction depending on customs). When your kit ships, you’ll receive confirmation info so you can track your Rift as it makes the journey from Oculus to your front door.
In the end, those DK1s did indeed take quite a while to find their way to everyone’s doors – although some landed without notice on the 29th. But as they did, the beginnings of what has now become a large and rapidly expanding community was kindled. New careers were formed, new companies inspired and we’re now expecting 3 consumer-level virtual reality headsets to be launched this year – just 3 years on from those first developer kits shipping.
It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of how much progress has been made in such a frighteningly short period of time. Watching the original unboxing video now, we’re about to step into the future much earlier than anyone expected.