Software developers around the globe are bursting with excitement as the next round of Oculus Rift dev kits prepare to ship out. Although the kits are intended to help encourage development of new software to use with the virtual reality headset, it is inevitable that some purchasers just want to get unlimited hands-on time with the hardware. Unfortunately, that mentality is going to hold developers in certain parts of the world back from receiving their dev kits.
Reddit user txr8096 recently pointed out that a large number of Oculus Rift pre-orders for developers in China were being cancelled and that the country had been removed from the options on the Dev Kit 2 pre-order page. An initial statement from Oculus suggested that the cancellations were due to high demand and manufacturing delays.
“We’re slightly behind in manufacturing and there’s currently a high chance that some developers with estimated shipping in July may not have their DK2s shipped until August.”
That excuse seemed believable enough, but after a long chain of complaints from other Reddit users, another Oculus team member (customer service lead Kevin Crawford) spoke up a bit more frankly about the reasons behind cancelling pre-orders specifically in China:
“Yes, it is a bummer that we’ve had to suspend sales in China due to extreme reseller purchases. We need to make sure that we are doing what we can to make sure that resellers that are looking to flip our product for a profit are not taking stock away from legitimate developer purchases globally.
“Our product, in its current form, is a developer kit, meant for developers that develop VR content. We are looking into alternative ways to make sure that our development kits are getting into legitimate developer hands in China. If you are an enthusiast, we kindly ask that you wait for the consumer Rift. It will be worth the wait.”
The new versions of the Oculus Rift dev kit begin shipping this month and, when purchased legitimately, cost developers $350. As you can imagine, concerns about scalpers must have been pretty serious and based on proof in order to halt delivery of the hardware to an entire country. Reddit users requested specifics about the resale prices from Crawford and although he didn’t offer concrete numbers, he had the following response:
“We were forced to suspend an entire country from purchasing. I’ll let you put 2 and 2 together.”
The developer agreement on the Oculus website asks users to confirm that they “understand this hardware is intended for developers and it is not a consumer product.” Considering the hype surrounding the hardware, Oculus and Facebook stand to make a ton of cash on the finished product, so it is no surprise that Oculus is cracking down on any form of resale or bootlegging.
For the sake of legitimate developers working in China, hopefully the problem will be resolved before the next round of dev kits ships out. If not, VR enthusiasts in the country may need to wait for the currently unannounced launch of the finished product to get their hands on it.
From the Wii to the PS4, a shortage surrounding the release of any new piece of video game hardware always ends up sending shoppers to Ebay to purchase ridiculously overpriced products. The demand for the Oculus Rift seems like it will be through the roof when the finished product arrives, so hopefully the producers have a manufacturing plan in place to avoid extreme resale prices for interested consumers.
Do you think extreme resale problems will be a more serious problem when the Oculus Rift launches? How much will you be willing to pay for the VR headset if it sells out at all legitimate retailers? Let us know in the comments.
Follow Denny on Twitter @The_DFC.