For many, the arrival of the Oculus Rift CV1 was supposed to be a celebratory moment, one that had been anticipated for a long period of time. It was long ago that virtual reality became a real future for the gaming industry, and it would require years of research, development, and refinement to arrive at something ready for mass market.
March 28th, 2016 was the official date that given for Oculus Rift CV1's debut. Calendars were marked, pre-orders were set, and anticipation was frothing from the mouths of technology enthusiasts.
It's now been over a month, and so far post-launch of Oculus Rift CV1 has been nothing short of a travesty. Most pre-orders haven't been shipped, and in-fact have been delayed in nearly every case. Long waits have become even longer.
Issues with undersupply of parts has put a choke-hold on the supply chain of the most demanded virtual reality headset on the market. The result is more than 95% of pre-orders that weren't shipped during launch week have been delayed up to eight weeks. In my case, shipment was delayed from mid-May until the last week of June. Sadly, this is par for the course.
Retailer partnerships executed by Oculus VR have made matters worse. This week Oculus Rift CV1 found its way into dozens of Best Buy stores across the United States, in addition to Amazon. This has allows a limited number of consumers who may or may not have been waiting for any period of time to grab a unit well before those of day one pre-orders. But it gets worse. Oculus VR has also formed partnerships with Alienware, Asus, and Dell to deliver what it calls "Oculus Ready PCs", which include both a desktop and an Oculus Rift CV1. These were immediately available in small quantities, allowing consumers to skip the pre-order line and obtain an Oculus Rift CV1 as long as they were willing to pay a lot extra to get a PC along with it.
The problem is that the pre-orders made on day one, most of which haven't been fulfilled, were mostly from supporters of the product who have been waiting to buy one for years. These are the most loyal and enthusiastic customers that are being treated as second-rate, the ones that Oculus VR probably can't afford to lose.
This sequence of events has disheartened even the most excited consumers, including myself. Truth be told, it's nearly impossible to retain hype through months of under-delivery, especially when a competing product is earning far more acclaim among both critics and consumers.
Virtual reality is here, and by all accounts it's just as immersive as you've been told. However, for the time being the first-generation products, particularly the Oculus Rift CV1, are struggling to meet demand resulting in some serious heartache.