Despite pre-order delays, Oculus has announced it will begin selling the Rift in limited quantities to select retailers this week as part of an upcoming promotion.
Today, Oculus released plans to begin selling a small number of Rifts to retailers both in stores and online, which may come as ill news to a portion of the community that pre-ordered the VR headset months ago and have yet to see their orders fulfilled.
As part of a campaign dubbed The Intel Experience, an Intel focused retail space in Best Buy stores across the country, the Oculus Rift will be available for customers to demo in stores on May 7. Stores without the Intel Experience will begin receiving demo units some time later this summer. Accompanying this promotion, a limited number of Rifts will be available to purchase at select Best Buy locations on May 7 and online from Microsoft and Amazon on May 6 at 9AM PST.
This is sure to cause frustration for those who are still waiting on pre-orders. Oculus opened pre-orders for the VR headset back in January and Rift began shipping in late March, but ran into delays due to unexpected shortages. To set things right, Oculus removed all shipping and handling charges for remaining pre-orders.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the initial launch, Oculus has decided to move forward with the promotion, which will likely draw the ire of those still waiting. To counter any hard feelings, Oculus has decided to offer one last peace offering. Anyone who has an existing pre-order and is able to purchase Rift from a retailer during this time, will have their existing pre-orders cancelled while still retaining all of the pre-order bonuses, such as the EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack and priority status for Touch pre-orders.
It is quite a situation Oculus has put itself in. While the company has obviously made efforts to make up for a shaky launch and loss of customer confidence, pushing a promotion that offers available units to new patrons is sure to feel like a slap in the face to those that pre-ordered. However, they cannot claim that they have no options and Oculus seems to be putting in genuine effort in its quest for penance.
Those that want to attempt to buy a unit in store, or those that want to experience Oculus Rift for themselves, can visit select Best Buy stores on May 7. The demos will offer several unique experiences including virtual reality vignettes with Dreamdeck, rock climbing with the appropriately named The Climb, and the ability to explore alien worlds in Farlands.