The launch of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) was supposed to be a momentous event in the recent history of virtual reality (VR). The company that reignited the world’s interest in VR when founder Palmer Luckey first showcased his prototype headset had promised so much in the run up. But since 28th March, that launch elation has slowly been eroded away as Oculus VR struggles to deliver on pre-orders. And if you want to purchase an Oculus Rift from the online store now, you’ll have to wait until August 2016.
Oculus’ store lists an estimated shipping date of August 2016, and limits sales to just one HMD per customer. So if you want an Oculus Rift, you’ll have to be patient as the company isn’t even guaranteeing August, so you might have to wait even longer.
The company made the situation worse for itself earlier this month, with the announcement of a retail rollout. This entailed 48 Best Buy locations across the US getting Oculus Rift demo units and a small amount of stock. Stock the company was holding onto rather than sending to customers who had pre-ordered back in January 2016. Trying to diffuse the situation, Oculus offered customers who had pre-ordered the opportunity to head down to one of the applicable Best Buy stores and buy the HMD from there whilst keeping the early order benefits. That may have helped some but it wasn’t any good for customers outside of the US.
Rival HMD HTC Vive has been having order issues itself. The headset arrived a week after the Oculus Rift, but while some Vive customers have had to wait its not been to the same degree. A quick look at the HTC Vive’s order page for the US and UK details June 2016 for the shipment of orders. If this is accurate then it gives HTC Vive’s that extra sales incentive.
Then in October Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE’s) PlayStation VR is due to launch, and this could be the biggest challenge to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. A 30million+ user base, cheaper HMD, and hopefully a manufacturing process up to the task of fulfilling orders.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Oculus Rift, reporting back any further news.