Are you ready to sit in your favorite ship?
One of the greatest things about Elite: Dangerous is the ability to set your own pace and theme. If you want to wander around and explore the stars, occasionally delivering packages to pay for upgrades to your ship, you can do that with no problem. If you want to fly around and show everyone just how great a bounty hunter you are, leaving wrecked ships in your wake as you sail, you have everything you need. As the player, you get to choose your experience, which is awesome.
You also have some control over the level of immersion you have in the game. You can play on a laptop in a coffee shop with a gamepad, at a wide screen desktop with flight sticks, or dive fully into a VR rig and have everything move with your head. Here's a quick guide on how to enable that last part!
Do not install from Frontier
If you've never played Elite: Dangerous before and are going in Day One through a VR Headset, this couldn't be easier. Instead of downloading the game through the Frontier website, you're going to download the game through either the Oculus Store or SteamVR.
Oculus Rift users will see the Elite: Dangerous icon in their library after installing, and clicking on that will start the Elite: Dangerous launcher. Don't put on your headset yet, you need to do a few things on your PC first. From this launcher, you will need to create a Frontier account. This allows you to log in from basically anywhere and play the game, but it's an added step you don't see often with Oculus games. Once you have created an account, Click Play in the bottom left corner of the launcher and put your headset on. By default, this version of the game uses the Xbox One controller that came with your Rift. To change this, head to Options > Controls from the main menu.
HTC Vive owners will be installing the game from SteamVR, and clicking play on the game in Steam will prompt a choice between launching the 32-bit, 64-bit, and VR Mode versions of the game. If you want to play through your Vive, you want to select VR from the list and hit OK. This will start the Elite: Dangerous launcher, where you create a Frontier account and log in to it. When the game stars you will not be using your Vive controllers, but instead the mouse and keyboard will be your default. To change this, head to Options > Controls from the main menu.
If you already own the game
If you are adding VR to your Elite: Dangerous experience, you've already purchased the game. This means you need to share this information with either Oculus Home or SteamVR so these stores do not try to charge you again for the game.
Head to the Frontier website in your browser, log in to your account, and go to your Account Dashboard. Here you will see an option labeled Partner Keys, which will allow you to claim a key for Elite: Dangerous on your VR platform of choice. Redeem this code on your VR store, and you'll be able to download the VR version of the game from those stores.
This does mean you'll need to uninstall the version of the game you currently have installed. There is no way to enable VR mode for Oculus Rift or SteamVR from the standard PC version of the game anymore. Before you uninstall the game, be sure to head to Users/[accountname]/AppData/Local/Frontier Developments/Elite Dangerous/Options/Bindings/ in Windows and move the "custom.binds" file until the game is re-installed. This will save you from needing to re-map your keys in the new version of the game, just in case that information gets lost.