Facebook’s Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset in Best Buy Stores
VR headset, Rift, on March 28.
The Best Buy Arrangement
Now, Oculus intends to give more people the opportunity to experience the VR headset in person at 48 Best Buy locations across the United States starting from May 7, according to a blog post by the company. More Best Buy stores are being considered to get the Oculus Rift later on this summer, the post added.
Oculus also said that there won’t be many demo units on hand at first as a result of the fact that it’s still getting devices delivered to customers who pre-ordered them.
The company said it will offer a variety of demos at the stores, including the rock-climbing game, The Climb. “For many, this is a first chance to jump into truly immersive VR,” Oculus said in a blog statement.
Interested consumers who have only read about the Oculus Rift or seen online videos, but are yet to experience it in person will be able to schedule a demo of the device at the selected Best Buy stores. Customers have to make online reservations for the Oculus Rift demo sessions in Best Buy stores up to a month in advance.
Extremely Limited Quantities Available for Sale
Oculus warned that those planning to purchase a Rift unit at Best Buy BBY -2.08%, should be aware that “quantities will be extremely limited” due to the fact that the hardware maker still needs to “catch up on Rift pre-orders.”
Customers who pre-ordered the headset online started to publicly complain that the company was late in delivering the device soon after the Rift was made available for shipping.
The company acknowledged that there have been customers who are yet to receive their headsets, and promised that if those customers decide to buy a Rift at Best Buy, their pre-orders will be cancelled.
The BestBuy move is a logical next step for Oculus, because until now, they have only been able to offer public demonstrations at trade shows and developer conferences. Though the company says it doesn’t yet have a lot of Rift headsets available to sell to customers, industry executives often say consumers VR needs to be experienced before its awesomeness can be fully understood.
THE ROAD TO VR
“Until you try it, you’re skeptical of it,” according to Sylvio Drouin, a VR software developer who recently offered demos at a party using Google’s $20 Cardboard headset, which puts a smartphone so close to your face that your mind is tricked into believing you’ve been immersed in a computer-generated world. Many of the people who tried it soon wanted to know how to get their own, he said.
It remains to be seen whether this new retail effort will inspire people to buy VR headsets. It is expected that sales of VR devices and software will reach $40.4 billion by 2020, according to SuperData Research. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, however, warns that even though he sees a bright future for VR, it will get off to a slow start.
Customers may sign up for the demos at live.oculus.com.