Oculus has announced via their official blog that “early builds of final Rift hardware” are shipping this week to developers alongside the Oculus SDK 1.0.

According to Oculus, developers will start getting their hands on near-final Oculus Rift headsets this week. Unlike Rift development kits in the past, this “early final hardware” Oculus Rift is not available for purchase; Oculus is dolling them out to developers working on launch titles for the headset:

If you’re shipping a Rift title in Q1, you’ll need early access to Rift hardware and new platform features to finalize your game or application. The Rift SDK 1.0 and runtime include features tied to the consumer product, so we’ve currently limited the release to developers putting final touches on launch titles.

If you’re planning a launch title and don’t yet have hardware, you can now upload a preview of your app through the Oculus submission tool, and we’ll be in touch with next steps.

We’re shipping more Rift hardware out to developers every week in the run up to launch. In the meantime, DK2 and SDK 0.8 continue to be the right platform for early Rift development — you only need SDK 1.0 if you’re imminently shipping.

We’re looking forward to seeing your VR experiences on Rift when it launches in Q1!

oculus rift high res consumer edition (2)
See Also: Oculus Remains Silent on 2015 Rift & Touch Pre-orders in Wake of Vive Delay

Oculus previously said that pre-orders for the consumer Rift headset would be launched in 2015, though given the proximity to the New Year, this update seems to indicate that won’t be happening.

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Engineering samples of the consumer Oculus Rift have been in the hands of select developers for some time now. It isn’t clear how these “early builds” of the consumer Rift differ from those previously released samples.

Oculus has only been as specific as Q1 2016 for the consumer launch of the Oculus Rift, and while a price hasn’t yet been locked down, the company has confirmed that it will be priced above $350.

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