Oculus Rift dev kit pre-orders available now, first batch to ship in January

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If you're interested in developing programs to work with the Oculus Rift, or just want to thrust your eyeballs into its dark embrace at the earliest possible opportunity, The Verge report that dev kit pre-orders are now available from the Oculus site. The prototype unit will come with an SDK so you can start tinkering straight away. "January 2013" is the expected delivery date.

The ramshackle prototype version that's been shown at E3 and Gamescom wowed pretty much everyone who put it on. Here's a video of Owen having a go. It's one of the few scenarios in which you'd forgive a chap for having to ward off demonic imps mid-sentence without the involvement of powerful hallucinogenics.

The Oculus Rift has swiftly picked up its march towards a full commercial release with a bit of help from Kickstarter. John Carmack has been a vocal advocate of the tech since E3, and it's been demoed with Doom 3 so far. Indie free to play mech combat game, Hawken, will also work with the goggles. In fact, there will be a special VR headset HUD to make the cockpit you're piloting from seem even more real.

Check out our video interview with Oculus Rift developer, Palmer Luckey for some insight into how the headset works, and why it's different from previous attempts at portable VR tech.