Oculus to give free Rift virtual reality headset to backers following Kickstarter controversy

The company was hailed as one of the victories of Kickstarter at the time of its funding — but its backers were less impressed when it was bought out by Facebook

Thinking inside the box: people try out Oculus Rift headsets
Thinking inside the box: people try out Oculus Rift headsets

Oculus will be giving free headsets to those people that backed its initial — and highly controversial — Kickstarter project.

The company was seen as one of the successes of Kickstarter when it successfully funded the development of its virtual reality headset on the crowdfunding platform. But some of that would later sour when the company was bought out by Facebook and nothing was returned to its backers.

Now Oculus says that all of those Kickstarter backers will be given free versions of the consumer edition of the headsets.

The headsets will be shipped alongside those bought in the pre-order round of the headset, which is about to launch.

Kickstarter backers were given a Rift development kit, which included an early version of the headset. But they’ll now have a full version shipped to them as well, which will include the two games given to the new customers.

“As one of the early supporters of Oculus, you helped make this revolution happen,” Oculus wrote in its message to its Kickstarter backers. “And before we open Rift pre-orders to the world, we wanted to share one more special update with you, our Kickstarter community.”

Backers will receive a form from Kickstarter that will allow them to share their address. If they live in one of the 20 launch countries they will be send a headset, and if they don’t Oculus is “working on an alternative”, it said.

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