VR enthusiasts this week flooded the Oculus subreddit with frustration after Kickstarter backers starting receiving the consumer Rift for free on Monday. The first pre-order was delivered last weekend, but were expected to begin in larger numbers mid-week and on an ongoing basis going forward. Facebook’s VR company, however, hasn’t made clear how many Rifts there are ready to deliver. People with bank accounts ready to release $650 or so don’t know precisely when this highly anticipated device will ship or arrive, not to mention when exactly the bank will charge that sum.
Co-founder Palmer Luckey explained on Reddit he was waiting to make sure Oculus gives out “good info” regarding the launch, writing: “I won’t give in-depth updates on any situation without knowing it is solid, true, and finalized. Until I can do so, the best I can do is remind people that I will get them information as quickly as I can.”
He also wrote:
“There are already many thousands of Rifts out there even at this early point, with more arriving as we speak. Remember that this sub is a tiny minority of the overall VR market – 70k is not even an accurate measure, considering how many subs are from old accounts or lurkers with no headset. The vast majority of people don’t care about posting pictures or reviews of their new toy to an internet enthusiast group.”
We do have some pressing questions for Oculus regarding the launch of the Rift. Most important among them, at least short-term, is when can people expect to receive their Rifts? As far as pre-orders go, I count myself among those who were on the Oculus website the moment orders were to launch. My pre-order is expected in May, I think. I’ve been following this thing since the Kickstarter but didn’t back the original project, and so as others receive their Rifts over the next month I’m kicking myself yet again, nearly four years later, for the mistake I made of not backing the Rift on Kickstarter. One can be both highly excited for VR and deeply frustrated with being unable to get it sooner.
As far as I’m concerned, though, no matter how quickly Oculus and HTC ship these things out, if we hear the vast majority of Rifts and Vives are still working properly a month and year from now, and people aren’t complaining about simulator sickness or some other health problem, then VR will have finally arrived. A bad launch for VR would be lots or returns because of something like simulator sickness or people giving up on VR because interacting with a gamepad isn’t as compelling as they hoped. That hasn’t happened yet.
Instead, we just have to wait.