Doing Business | IT & Technologies

February 13, 2017

Even without the lawsuit, the Oculus Rift appears to be collapsing

When Oculus first hit the scene back in 2012, everyone assumed that the Rift was going to be the king of the virtual reality revolution.
A man demos an early Oculus Rift prototype headset at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

A man demos an early Oculus Rift prototype headset at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Facebook buying Oculus to the tune of $2.3 billion in 2014 only reinforced that theory, but five years later, now that the Rift is finally available to consumers, it sits firmly at the bottom of the pack in terms of sales and Oculus is being sued into oblivion by gaming company ZeniMax.

But according to a report from Business Insider on Wednesday, the bad news doesn’t end there.

The report reveals that Best Buy will soon be shuttering 200 of its 500 in-store Oculus demo stations around the country. Multiple Best Buy employees told BI that they often go days without a single customer asking to try out the Oculus Rift. Although an Oculus spokesperson tells BI that the closings are simply due to “seasonal changes,” an internal memo seen by BI suggests that they are in fact related to “performance.”

“We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets,” said Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert. She added that it will still be possible to request a Rift demo at “hundreds of Best Buy stores in the US and Canada,” and that Oculus is planning to find new ways to allow consumers to get their hands on the Rift in the future.

Although many Rift demo stations are closing down, those Best Buy locations still plan to sell the headset and the Oculus Touch controllers going forward, Best Buy spokeswoman Carly Charlson tells BI.

The foot traffic of demo stations might not be the best way to gauge interest in a product, but to add insult to injury, a SuperData report this week (via MCV) revealed that Oculus shipped just 250,000 Rift headsets in 2016. To put that into perspective, Sony shipped 750,000 PlayStation VR units, HTC shipped 420,000 Vives and Samsung moved a whopping 4.5 million Gear VR units last year.

Lawsuit or not, Facebook and Oculus have some serious work to do.

Text by BGR Media
 

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