The Sony PlayStation VR headset goes up for pre-order in the US today at 7am PT (10am ET, 2pm GMT) - well, if you want the $499 bundle that is.
It will hit stores on 31 October 2016 for a wallet-friendly price of but pre-orders are opening early for anyone who wants to make sure they get the headset first.
The preorders on Amazon seem to have sold out as of this morning, but it looks like PS VR bundles are still in stock at Best Buy and GameStop.
Sony pushed a blog out saying that only launch bundles - not single headsets - will go on preorder 22 March at Amazon and other retailers. You'll get the headset, PlayStation Camera and two Move controllers along with PlayStation VR Worlds and Playroom VR digital download. It all sounds like a great deal unless you already have the components and just need the PS VR headset.
Hands-on: PlayStation VR review
In that case, though, you only have to wait a week until 7am PT (10am ET, 2pm GMT) 29 March for the PlayStation VR core option at $399. At first Sony said this wouldn't be available to pre-order, bizarrely, but this has been reversed on the PlayStation blog.
The details were first unveiled at Sony's keynote at the Games Developer Conference in San Francisco, and completes the pricing and availability of the big three headsets set to be released in 2016.
"We have always used technology to push gaming boundaries," Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said. "We've never shied away from chartering new game play experiences."
Of the price, House said that Sony wants to make its VR experience accessible.
He also explained that the company chose the late launch date to accommodate demand. PlayStation VR will immediately work with the 36 million PlayStation 4 consoles in homes worldwide, and Sony has signed on more than 230 development houses to create VR content. These studios, range from small indie operations to big names like EA.
Essential reading: PlayStation VR everything you need to know
A virtual reality version of Star Wars Battlefront is one such title, and one that will launch exclusively for PlayStation VR. Sony will release more details about this game, which we're now itching to play, in the coming months.
"Our mission is to make PlayStation the best place for gamers," House said. "And we want to continue that mission with PlayStation VR."
Like previous iterations shown over the last two years, House elaborated on the design of PlayStation VR as a single band that wraps around the wearer's head. The screen can flip up and down at a push of a button in a "visor-like design." House said that the headset is "built for maximum comfort and ease of use."
"PlayStation VR evokes the future while staying true to the clean, minimal design that PlayStation hardware is known for," he continued.
A very nice price
And it puts Sony in the driving seat when it comes to price, with PlayStation VR headset undercutting Oculus Rift ($599) and the HTC Vive ($799). What's more, while PS VR lags behind its rivals in terms of release date, it'll still be on the shelves in time for the Christmas rush, where it's sure to be a big hit.
And while PlayStation executive vice president Masayasu admitted last week that "Oculus may have better VR" thanks to the extra power that gaming rigs have to offer, with tens of millions of PS4 consoles in the wild, the PS VR has a huge consumer base of consoles, which can plug and play the new headset.
And it does still pack some serious punch.
PlayStation VR features a 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 display, with an impressive 100-degree field of vision, and the 120Hz refresh rate trumps Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which should mean super-smooth gameplay.
Go compare: Oculus Rift vs PlayStation VR
In addition to gaming, Sony revealed that the headset will work with other media content, such as viewing movies and videos from the PlayStation Vue network and user-generated content captured with omnidirectional cameras. "We're working with a curated list of partners, including interactive narratives to music and sports videos," House teased. We're sure we will hear more about the non gaming VR content between now and October.
Additional reporting by James Stables.
Will you buy a PlayStation VR for your PS4 this year? Let us know in the comments.
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