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Oculus Rift Launch Disaster – Delays, Customer Anger

Oculus Rift Shipments Delayed by Months

The high-profile launch of Oculus Rift has been marred by shipping delays and poor communication from the company, with many customers angry about a wait that has been extended by months.

Pre-orders for the $600 VR headset opened in January with demand so high at the time that it crashed the Oculus website. Initially, delivery dates of March were floated but these have since been pushed back due to an inability to meet production targets.

A reddit thread on the subject notes that many people who pre-ordered on Day One in Jan are looking at a delivery date that was pencilled for March bumped to May or even June.

In a statement provided by Oculus Rift addressing the shipping delays, the company placed blame on component shortages and manufacturing issues as reason for the delay. Oculus’ CEO Brendan Iribe also tweeted that the company would be providing free shipping for all pre-orders (including international) to compensate for the launch delay.

The component shortage impacted our quantities more than we expected, and we’ve updated the shipment window to reflect these changes. We apologize for the delay. We’re delivering Rifts to customers every day, and we’re focused on getting Rifts out the door as fast as we can. We’ve taken steps to address the component shortage, and we’ll continue shipping in higher volumes each week. We’ve also increased our manufacturing capacity to allow us to deliver in higher quantities, faster. Many Rifts will ship less than four weeks from original estimates, and we hope to beat the new estimates we’ve provided. – Oculus Rift spokesperson.

The Oculus Rift website is currently reporting an estimated shipping date of “August 2016” for all new orders.

The supply chain issues that the company are quoting as the source of the Oculus Rift delay are concerning, given the two and a half years of development prior to launch. Some analysts are reporting that it is difficult to understand how a company acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion could get such a high-profile product launch so wrong. Questions also remain around what this will mean for the retail launch of the headset, with the company not yet announcing any firm plans except to say that “more details are coming soon”.

Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder commented that the real losers here are the application and game developers, which threatens the early and immature VR ecosystem: “None of those people are going to make money for months at a time – that’s the number 1 concern here.”

The first of the coming wave of VR headsets to launch, the Oculus Rift preceded the HTC Vive which launched on April 5th for $799 and the The Playstation VR which will cost $399 and launch sometime in October.

The HTC Vive appears to not have yet run into any issues with delivery, with the company posting a blog reassuring customers that shipping targets would be met, stating “Your Vive system will be shipped in the month noted in your order confirmation email”.

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