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Facebook reveals technical requirements for commercial Oculus Rift

Facebook has revealed the system requirements for the next version of the Oculus Rift, expected to launch in 2016.

The virtual reality headset will start mass production in late 2015 and Facebook is already preparing for a big burst into the commercial market. It looks like the first version of the Oculus Rift will not be targeted at any consumer however, with the requirements forcing potential buyers to update their rigs.

Buyers will need an Intel Core i5-4950 processor (or later), 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 GPU, HDMI 1.3 for video, 2 USB 3.0 ports and Windows 7 (or later) in order to run the Oculus Rift, which will use the computing power for the virtual reality platform.

This means Oculus has not figured out how to power the system internally, instead using the power of PCs to run the best games. That does mean none of the current constraints on graphics will be apparent, with a rig like that capable of running 4K 60fps games.

Facebook might not see the reasoning behind making the Oculus Rift available to a small demographic in the gaming community, but starting on high-end consumers might make it easier to convince casual buyers in late 2016 or 2017.

Oculus has more than one headset planned for commercial launch in the next few years. This high-end product should be the flagship, showing the power of Oculus when it can utilise the very best in PC parts.

The price is still in debate, with Facebook wanting it as low as possible and potentially a loss leader, priced for less than its worth to win over customers. We do not expect a high-end machine like this will run on adverts or any other Facebook scheme however, meaning it cannot use the same business model it uses for the social network.

Oculus is not the only company vying for customer attention, with Valve entering the VR market in partnership with HTC; Sony planning to launch Project Morpheus in 2016 and other VR projects coming to fruition in the next year.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.