Virtual reality firm Oculus VR has announced partnerships with companies including Dell and Asus to launch PCs certified as being up to the task of driving an Oculus Rift headset when it - hopefully - launches early next year.

Announced during the company's Oculus Connect 2 developer conference, the partnerships see Dell, its gaming-centric subsidiary Alienware and Taiwanese tech giant Asus agreeing to build powerful gaming PCs under the new Oculus Ready programme. Devices so certified, the company has explained, will be guaranteed to be up to the task of driving the retail model Oculus Rift headset at the resolution and refresh rate required to avoid sickness and disorientation and feature at least 8GB of RAM and Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290 graphics. Final specifications and pricing were not discussed, beyond the promise to aim at a target point below $1,000 excluding the Oculus Rift headset itself, which Oculus VR vice president of product Nate Mitchell told PC Gamer would be 'at least $300.'

The company's announcements come as Samsung declared that it would be launching its Oculus-powered Gear VR headset for $99 in November. Unlike the Oculus Rift, the Gear VR uses a Samsung smartphone as both its controlling device and its display, hence the considerably lower cost. The updated design, improved since the developer release, is now a fifth lighter and will support a wider range of Samsung smartphones at launch. It also comes with promised support for various media-centric applications, including Twitch, Netflix, Vimeo, and TiVo, along with software support from Facebook - Oculus VR's owner - for 360-degree video streaming.

Oculus VR has still not tied down a formal launch date for its retail headset, beyond stating that it is aiming for a first-quarter 2016 release.
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