Oculus' long-awaited virtual reality headset, the Rift, now has a firm release window. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

No release date is available yet, but Facebook-owned virtual reality firm Oculus announced on Wednesday that its first VR headset for the public will ship in the first quarter of 2016.

Oculus added that preorders will start "later this year." The company expects to share details about the system's hardware and software before actual shipments begin, and Oculus employees have started to post open calls for third-party developers.

No price has been announced, although Oculus Rift developer kits are currently available and sell for $350. Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey has said the final retail price will be between $200 and $400. He has also said in the past that he had wanted deliveries of the device to begin this year.

Oculus software is also available in the Galaxy Gear VR headset, which retails for $200, but that requires a specific, pricey Samsung smartphone.

Next week, Oculus will share the VR headset's technical specifications, and the company hinted at a large presence at video gaming conference E3 in June.