Update: Oculus Touch Tracking Improvements ‘Taking A Little Longer’ Than Expected

by Jamie Feltham • January 31st, 2017

Update: Earlier today Nate Mitchell took to Reddit to explain that the anticipated January update was “taking a little longer” than Oculus had expected. “We’re working to get it out to everyone as soon as possible. Appreciate everyone’s patience,” he said. “And yes, this means there’s very likely two updates in February.”

Original Story: There’s no denying Oculus Touch is a wonderful piece of kit, but over the past two months issues with tracking have reared their ugly heads.

We’ve seen multiple reports from Rift users across different channels about struggles with occlusion and range over the past few weeks. That essentially means people are moving their controllers out of the tracked area, despite fine tuning their setups. It creates an immersion-breaking disconnect when your virtual hands start jumping about either because you’ve reached too high or low, or turned out of the view of the sensors.

Every Rift comes with a tracking sensor and every Touch comes with another one, both of which should be placed near your PC. If you want to enable full room-scale tracking then you can also buy a third sensor, which should theoretically give your experience extra stability, but some people using either two and three sensor set ups still claim to have issues.

After weeks of requests, Oculus recently confirmed that an update is coming.

Nate Mitchell, an Oculus co-founder who now works on the Rift team at the Facebook-owned company took a rare trip to the Oculus subreddit to confirm that a January update for the Rift would feature “improvements to tracking, particularly for some multi-sensor configurations,” or, in other words, Touch users.

“We’re keeping a close eye on tracking quality, and we’ll continue addressing any issues we uncover as quickly as possible,” Mitchell wrote.

I’ve had tracking issues myself, so I can attest to the need for this update. The only question is how much can Oculus really do on the software side now that the hardware is finalized and available to all? We’re sure refinements can be made but a complete overhaul of the system might be out of the question. Perhaps the Touch setup guide could do a better job of showing how well your current configuration is tracking your controllers?

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  • 1droidfan

    I tried the 2 sensor 360 corner configuration and couldent get by the setup as it couldent seem to see the controller well enough to establish tracking. 2 front sensors work amazing for 90% of the titles, but some of the SteamVR ones that actually use 360 degree room scale are pretty much unplayable with that setup when you turn sideways or fully around. Waiting until I hear of good feedback on the forums to 3 sensor setups, right now there are about 10x as many people having isues than people posting that everything works well. I realize the Vive tracks perfect out of the box but I prefer the oculus games and ability to setup in different areas quickly ( ours moves between my office and rec room on weekends ).

    • Bundy

      Adding a 3rd sensor improved things for me considerably. I’ve had no real tracking issues since. Except for one of the corners of my space where it’s a blind spot to two of the sensors. So we just redrew the guardian lines to avoid it

    • blueredgreenyellow

      3 cameras works great. That being said 2 camera should work well to, as long as you have them within 3m of each other. I would be nice if Oculus would make a setup guide for 360 and roomscale instead of just calling them experimental. A quick google search and I cant find any good user guides.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Well, thats the point. They can’t stick with experimental forever. When they do say it’s “official” I will re-evaluate my decision to go with them alone or pick up a Vive to boot for larger spaces. I feel confident that IF you have a proper functioning USB system AND a system rated for Oculus, it will often work pretty well. OTOH, failing either of the above and tweaks needed to the software tracking comparatively to the Vive will be worse. I suspect the Lighthouse setup is more forgiving for weaker hardware than Constellation, which might explain part of Oculus focus on lowering HW requirements, but they might be creating a trap for Constellation in the process.

    • DM

      I had great results with 3 sensors, it set up first time and clears up any occlusion zones.

    • chtan

      I can setup my Vive within ~2minutes on new area with 0 tracking problem. How fast you can setup your Rift?
      I move my setup from home to parent’s home very frequently without having any issue with USB or camera at all.

  • Sebastien Mathieu

    Too Late for me 🙂 my Rift + Touch are on ebay as of now!!! , will keep my VIVE tought, the tracking for me as been flawless and no need of USB port on computer is a big plus!!!

    • Bundy

      Sure…

      • Mourz

        Sure? He is one of many in this situation.

        • JSM21

          IDK my PC has 8+ USB ports..and my 2 sensor 360 set-up is fine at 10′ apart.

          • chtan

            Try move them to new location and see how fast you can setup the new 360 experience. LOL

          • Get Schwifty!

            It takes about 15-20 minutes total. I play in my living room when I can because the office my wife and I share is too small. I have to hook up the laptop to an external GPU enclosure, place the three sensors, plug them in along with the headset, rerun the re-calibrate and go. It’s not ideal, but you do it the same order a couple times it gets to be pretty fast. I suspect if I was careful and simply marked exactly which and where I put the sensors (bookshelves, etc.) each time I wouldn’t even need to re-calibrate and could be up in as little maybe 10 minutes total if that.

          • chtan

            It just take about a minute to just plug in the power cords to both lighthouse and put on the HMD. I don’t even need to align the lighthouse properly.

          • Get Schwifty!

            So therefore the whole system is hopelessly flawed because it might take 10 minutes to setup as a mobile solution? I am also not sure I believe your comment about not needing to align Lighthouse because I know too many people who have to fiddle with the units to get proper coverage, sounds like you are not in optimal setup.

          • JSM21

            That is why I have a 15′ USB extension for the one sensor that is farthest away. It doesn’t lost “lose” anything w/ that distance either.

        • Get Schwifty!

          Your source for such a claim?

      • NooYawker

        oops reply to wrong person…

    • ummm…

      get ready to have your experience be called anecdotal and dismissed by the zealots, as seen below. Lets hope Oculus gets it right sooner than later; until then im loving my vive.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Yeah and let’s not forget all the “zealots” who also report no issues…. they must all be liars or fools right?

        • ummm…

          no ive spoken to some of them. im interested to know their set ups. In some cases their setups are just 180, or they have extra small spaces, the have mounted their cameras in creative ways, multiple cameras, etc. By no means is it impossible to smartly do a setup that may work well enough for their to be no experience degradation.

    • NooYawker

      Did you buy both and planned to keep one and sell the other? Sounds like a heavy upfront cost.

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        yess! could not make my mind on wich one to buy…. tested both extensively, I prefer the VIVE overall setup, even if I consider the rift better optically/ergonomically, just sold the rift on ebay last week…. and the promise of the upcoming TPCast and Vive tracker for accessories was a big factor in my decision of keeping the vive over the oculus…

        • Get Schwifty!

          The promise of improved ergonomics on the Vive is appealing, I will probably pick one up around the time the new controllers hit the market, particularly if they become part of a bundle.

  • Kevin Walker

    I’ve had plenty of issues with roomscale tracking. I pretty much expected to, as it’s still sold as ‘Experimental’. What has annoyed me is the lack of information from Oculus. When I contacted Oculus support a few weeks ago, I really pushed them to tell me if an update was being worked on, and the most I got out of them was “I definitively can’t say if we are or are not”. Even now the most we have to go on is one Reddit post from Nate. Oculus really need to work on their support and communication with customers.

    • Mourz

      It is only experimental on rift. Working fine on vive/steam tracking.

      • ummm…

        dont poke the bear

    • Get Schwifty!

      That is the key point… it’s clearly billed as “Experimental” which people seem to think doesn’t mean anything… it does. Why some people can’t keep this in mind right now and accept this currently just shows irrational hatred and fanboy-ism during emotional rants with constant exaggerations.

  • Doctor Bambi

    “We’ve seen multiple reports from Rift users across different channels
    about struggles with occlusion and range over the past few weeks.”

    While issues have varied drastically from person to person, occlusion/range isn’t what I’ve been seeing as the main issue over on r/oculus. It mostly revolves around power distribution between cameras and headset. A lot of times, the users have setup their sensors very much within the acceptable configurations, but for whatever reason, the sensors are not getting the power that they need to function properly.

    I hope Oculus is implementing more features to help catch poor tracking quality and provide proper trouble shooting help in the near future.

    Personally I’ve used both 2-cam 360 and 3-cam configurations and I’ve been more than happy with the quality of tracking, so I know it is not a limitation of Oculus’ hardware. I hope that the January update helps solve a lot of the issues users have been reporting, because it’s a great experience when it works the way it was intended.

    • Chris

      The tracking problems with the right touch controller had nothing to do with occlusion or tracking range or some kind of power distribution. Left touch controller and head tracking always worked flawless in my setup.

    • mbze430

      I am running a 3-Camera setup and have a 4th camera (which sux when added in to the setup). I run an USB 3.0 hub to all the cameras, so it is definitely not the issue of power. As other have mentioned. the right controller seems to be the most problematic. Not saying Left is perfect, but ratio is 3:1 with the right controller

      • Doctor Bambi

        In seems in the process of calling out the generalized statement made in the article, I then proceeded to make my own generalized comment, haha sorry about that.

        There certainly seem to be a lot of factors at play here. People have had success using an externally powered USB hub, or PCI card, but that doesn’t solve every issue people are seeing. Just today there were reports of better tracking for an unknown reason, no change in their setups. Only potential factor was a Windows auto update that happened over the weekend, but nothing confirmed.

        I personally have yet to see the right hand degrading tracking over time issue, but hopefully the January update will solve a lot of these types of problems as they very well could be software based.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Yeah I would agree, it seems almost always the right controller will do the spiral effect….

      • blueredgreenyellow

        first time I’ve read that online. I thought my right controler was just buggy. Even when I switch hands that controller will still jump sometimes.

  • mellott124

    I have a 3 camera setup and it’s still not as consistent as Vive. My space is 5’x9′.
    Works well enough but has the occasional hiccup which breaks immersion.

  • Tony

    I had a 2 sensor setup for room scale (sensors mounted at 2m height, 4.5m apart and I had some wobble in the centre.

    I had minimal occlusion issues, unless I curled up into a fetal position. I added a 3rd sensor – one sensor in each corner – and now I have no issues. I’ll probably get a 4th sensor in the final corner, but it doesn’t appear to be necessary.

    I have an Asus ROG ITX motherboard with a pretty basic 600W psu – so power distribution could be the fault of the mainboard for some users.

  • AtmosContagion

    My Rift + Touch tracking has been pretty much flawless within the acceptable limits of the current technology. Two sensors front facing (about 2.4m high, 2.1m apart) worked great for room scale with only a very, very small area of occlusion (pretty much only had issues picking stuff up off the ground when facing away from camera sensors); three has feels like it’s perfect and feels nearly the same as my experience with the Vive (except when you have some massive room dedicated to VR). It really makes me wonder what the key variable differences are for those experiencing poor tracking quality. It would definitely be interesting to find out.

    I think one resolution Oculus should look at is building an optional breakout box for “room scale” setups; plug all your sensors into a small device that does most, if not all, of the image processing on it and then passes the pure positional data to the PC/game. This would solve the issue with using a bunch of USB ports as well as limit the number of potential variables when issues do occurr.

    • JMB

      That is a very good idea tbh!

    • CheezWiz

      I bet the issue is CPU power, hard disk speed, and memory. Need a full blown i7 for crunching the data and then 8+GB of RAM and an SSD in RAID 0 really assist with that. I am having no issues with three either but I meet the criteria I just mentioned. Plus I have a 1070 with lots of RAM.

      • AtmosContagion

        If I remember correctly, the camera processing itself only requires like maybe 1% of a CPU each. The resources needed for the tracking isn’t a huge issue.

        What I have seen on reddit really seems to indicate that most people are having issues with getting proper power to the sensors. A lot of people seem to be solving their issues by using either a powered USB 3.0 hub and/or active extensions.

        I don’t really think it’s the controllers either, because I have 10 USB 3.0 ports on my motherboard panel that are asmedia controlled and then an additional 4 using an Intel controller connected via two 20 pin connectors on the board. I also have a 10 port powered USB hub I use. My rift, three cameras, and external hard drives are on the asmedia controlled ports.

        I really think Oculus should build a “room scale” breakout box that all cameras would be plugged into and would provide the power and initial image processing, just passing the pure positional data to the PC itself. It eliminates many of the variables in terms of user hardware and would limit use of the PC USB ports to just a single port for all cameras.

        • Get Schwifty!

          I think you are probably right about the proper power being the issue, and the need for a “breakout box” if they stick with the current setup which they probably will.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Not that those are really high-end requirements… an i7 with 8 GB RAM and even “just” a 1060…..

        • CheezWiz

          Right, but without seeing the machine of someone having the “issue” how do we know? I have no problems running 4 sensors but am only using three now because it works fine with three.

      • Kalle

        Bet you are wrong 🙂

        • CheezWiz

          Well, works fine for me… And I have the system specs to run it.
          There is no telling what kind of crap the people who cannot make it work have running on their systems. Or if they are running it on properly equipped machines.

          • Kalle

            I’ve been running it flawless on slow systems and had problems on systems faster than yours. So still bet you are wrong. 😉 I believe that USB3 and the way it’s implemented in different systems is the cause of all problems.

  • NooYawker

    How difficult would it be to add Light houses like the vive?

    • JSM21

      What exactly are you asking? Sounds like you are asking to put Lighthouses on an Oculus….not going to happen if you are..

      • NooYawker

        Not the vive light houses but something they make specifically for the oculus. I actually don’t know if the oculus has similar sensors all over the head set like the vive.

        • JSM21

          You can buy extra sensors like the one it came w/ and yes it does have sensors in the headset. Oculus just didnt put them out there like the Vive did for all to see, lol. Its like, ” I swear there are sensors, look!”.

          • JMB

            Absolutely not and completely wrong.

            Rift uses LEDs on the headset and Controllers that are seen by the camera(s) and then interpreted into a stance via computer vision.

            Vive uses flashing/rotating laser beams that are picked up by photo-sensitive sensors on the HMD and controllers, which by triangulation are calculated into a stance.

            Hence outside-in vs inside-out tracking.

          • JSM21

            That is their constellation tracking……Oculus Sensor tracks constellations of IR LEDs to translate your movements in VR. A series of infrared LEDs embedded in the headset are then monitored by this wireless sensor in what Oculus calls the Constellation Tracking System. Oculus Sensor tracks constellations of IR LEDs to translate your movements in VR. That is what they have and why you can’t see them is cause they didn’t want it to look unfinished like many ppl have complained about how the Vive looks…. Should have known someone would become so bent out of shape over the word SENSOR in reference to the headset… and they so NOT have cameras so you are absolutely and completely wrong….happy now?

          • JMB

            So you are saying the Oculus sensors are NOT cameras?

            Gotcha 😉

            What wireless sensor are you talking about?

            Btw, I have both Rift as well as Vive, so no need to go all fanboyish.

            Rift is definitely way sleeker, beautifully designed and more comfortable. I solely prefer Vive due to its considerably more precise tracking, particulalry across larger rooms.

          • Nicholas

            Who said they have cameras? Inside-out tracking refers to the sensors being on the HMD/controllers rather than externally – which is exactly what the Vive has.

            Relying on optical cameras for full room-scale tracking was always going to be problematic and Oculus knew this all too well, hence them branding it as “experimental”.

          • JSM21

            JMB….cause he can’t read well….lolol. FYI that was sarcasm for those reading this since I know someone will say something stupid about that wording as well. :-/ Trust me it happens.

          • NooYawker

            I was hoping to avoid any flaming, I was asking a legitimate question.

          • Get Schwifty!

            Good luck… most seem to be disaffected Millenials or younger the way they post often.

          • dogtato

            Inside-out tracking actually refers to tracking that uses only internal components. Lighthouses are (unintuitively) considered outside-in because the lighthouses are outside telling the headset where it is, and it has the same performance characteristics as constellation, namely that accuracy is a factor of how far the headset/controllers are from the cameras/lighthouses.

            Of course you’re right that lighthouse works better.

          • Nicholas

            What you’re thinking of is markerless inside-out tracking. The Vive is inside-out with active markers (the Lighthouses), which is easier to implement and a lot more reliable. The Rift is outside-in.

    • polysix

      NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.

      Oculus’s tracking is fundamentally flawed from the start. It’s basically still stuck in DK2 days but a bit better. The tech is backwards, it can’t expand it’s not open, the only way to patch it is to add even more woeful cameras that add as many problems as they solve (and they will NEVER track as quickly, accurately or robustly as Vive does – that is a fact – a fact everyone told rift fans for almost a year and were shouted down cos of ‘hype’).

      The thing is facebook VR really don’t want to dump cameras as they can TRACK data with them (eventually), all that ‘social’ bs they talk of is just yet another in a mountain of past social experiements/tracking that facebook as a company has carried out on the public, often at the public’s expense. It has very little to do with VR, certainly PC/CORE VR.

      Facebook see a future where VR is stand-alone, controlled by them, locked down 100% and everything from emotion to body temperature is tracked – under the guise of ‘cool vr’ but really for data to sell to advertisers and to conduct social experiments on (just as they do now with the god-awful site)

      The “problem” with VIVE lighthouse type systems for Facebook is they do not provide enough personal information (as in data tracking for bad reasons not for VR tracking). So oculus resisted going for the much better form of tracking even when valve offered it for free, because, well you can’t data mine a laser beam quite as easily as a camera (IR filter on it or not!).

      Get ready for your EULA’s to change to allow even more tracking of voice, emotion, what you had for lunch, what you are wearing, the brands in your room >>>> straight to Facebooks AI computer system to sell to advertisers for billions.

      That is not putting VR first, that is putting facebook first. Don’t let that happen. Refuse to allow facebook (“oculus” which is just now a sub-brand front to soften the blow) to monopolise/hold back/ruin PC VR.

    • mirak

      Technically you could plug the new Vive Trackers anywhere, but it would be clumsy of course.
      But there is no technical or legal reason occulus can’t use lighthouse system for a new headset iteration.

  • jlschmugge

    Huh, I guess I’m not crazy I kept losing tracking. I’ve reset my sensors twice in the past few weeks.

  • We’ll see if this solves the issue. Someone has solved problems using powered-USB switches, so I’m asking myself if there aren’t hw problems, too

  • nargorn

    4 sensor setup, 2 usb expansion cards from inateck. it works well for about 50 minutes. after that i habe to restart oculus service. that is frustrating.

  • polysix

    gee… it’s as if nobody ever warned the rift zealots over and over, time and time again that RIFT WILL HAVE TRACKING PROBLEMS when doing anything remotely outside of sitting on yer ass and barely moving. We told them, they flamed us, they should have been flaming oculus (the lying pricks). Vive/lighthouse outclasses oculus tracking 100:1 always did and always will, these ‘updates’ and band-aids will never sort the core problem, that the camera system is wholly flawed for anything remotely active and if it can fail AT ALL for so many people it’s as good as useless. It’s not robust.

    But again, we (general VR fans who knew about this stuff) told them, and they shoved fingers in ears, jumped on the hype train and dug their own (VR) graves by investing in facebook VR. The whole company is corrupt from top to bottom ( once it got linked to f-book ). The goodwill PC users have for Carmack, and the goodwill they once had for Luckey can only take them so much further before even the most dull/hard-headed of rift fanboys (usually found over on the official forums) jumps ship.

    Meanwhile anyone with a vive knows how amazing that tracking is, even with small bugs and issues that needed patching for some, it’s a night a day difference. Vive built from the ground up for roomscale so can easily handle anything lower, while rift only ever designed as a HMD solution, seated, barely even 360 with tacked on controllers with ridiculous cameras on sticks that if you move them even a mm they need re-calibrating every time (even though they are in the way on your desk not out of the way on a wall like Vive lighthouses).

    Well, I’ve had Vive, DK2, and PSVR and sold them all, tried rift CV1 plenty of times and frankly shit tracking is far from it’s only issue (bad screens, god rays, discomfort and all the horrid facebook connections/software/oculus home stuff… yuck).

    Not a fanboy of any VR personally and have been open to anyone who makes a decent HMD but oculus are particularly on my avoid list after the stunts they’ve pulled, the lies they’ve told and the u-turns they made on PC VR treating their ex-fans like idiots and only encouraging dumb noobs to attack anyone who dare pull them up on the lies they told. They created the perfect storm of self destruction and are adamant to keep heading into it.

    Meanwhile Valve are actively trying to grow/open/push core/PC VR, even MS are… but facebook? they only care about facebook just as always and will never change. Be prepared for PC VR to be abandoned by Facebook before long as they move to their ‘final solution’ the 100% locked down, DRM controlled, super-data-mining standalone “nerfed” all in one VR headset we saw the prototype off at OC3. No thanks facebook. As if GearVR wasn’t already enough of a nail in the coffin and a clear indication of where facebook’s priorities lie. If you can’t see that then you really do deserve all the shit they are about to unload on you.

    • Jason Hawken

      Jesus Christ did you not get hugged enough as a child or something? have fun with all your shitty steam shovelware bro

      • Get Schwifty!

        He’s a hater…. I mean, I see not liking a product by feature, but some of the rants are almost irrational, and are more about feelings than reality. .

    • chtan

      Agreed. Another very concerning factor is they use way/relying on too much on USB port to function. USB is prone to compatibility issue. A product which use too much USB port is never a good design.

      • Get Schwifty!

        I suspect you are staying within a certain boundary range so you are not getting the tracking loss others report if you move the units and dont recalibrate. Otherwise calibration literally means nothing in the Vive, and is a useless feature.

    • Get Schwifty!

      You are exaggerating and that is the problem, you hate Oculus/FB, and probably Luckey too based on your diatribe which is disproportionate to the current issues.. The tracking works for most people, and it works reasonably well – and not everyone is reporting tracking issues either, quite a few people report few or no issues. I use mine on average four hours a week or so, and I occasionally get a bit of momentary “spiraling” on the right controller, and a slight skip transitioning between front and rear cameras, thats about it, and on a laptop not officially rated for Oculus VR either. Honestly, its not anywhere near as bad as you or others wish to make it out, if it was we’d all throw the setups out tomorrow, and people aren’t not because they are “dull fanboys”, but because they actually for the most part enjoy it and wish to see it improved, the Touch controllers are simply great and the headset is pretty sweet too. However, If Oculus doesn’t improve at least to a significant degree, I *may* pick up a Vive since they are pushing ahead on their components, but if all I wanted to do was front facing/standing activities, the current systems for the most part works well for the majority and surprisingly that is more people than you would think. Even small “room scale” works pretty well, even down to the floor if you set up your sensors well.

      I agree that Valve is trying, and so is HTC, but you can’t claim Oculus/FB is doing nothing, that is simply incorrect. Your hate for them is so obvious it actually takes away from your points. By the way, VIve owners have their complaints, and I have perused the forums for them as well and see people posting about tracking issues, they have a percentage as well that is not happy either, so its not unique to Oculus by any measure. What’s different is the VR site pundits love the torrid tale of “great Vive tracking vs. Oculus” because frankly all of us love to discuss it and they discovered it creates great click-bait by spinning it up.

    • Burstup

      Tracking works fine for me with 3 sensors. I use a Vive, too. But thanks to the Touch controllers, which are far better than the Vive wands, I enjoy my 3 sensor Rift setup more.

    • Mike

      Update get released a little later than expected. Polysix thinks the world is about to end, Everyone with a Rift is a dumb noob who doesn’t understand the world of VR. Facebook is the root of all evil, Valve is the saviour of Mankind.

      Man, Its just a VR system, its just another piece of tech

      I’m off to go buy a tin hat and sit waiting for the shit that is about to get unloaded on me. *runs around panicking*

      P.S
      Tracking isn’t shit, if it was we would have heard far more complaints from Rift owners… oh hang on…. I forgot we are all too busy digging our own graves to notice.

      TD;DR polysix is a hater, ignore what he says

  • Burstup

    Tracking works perfectly for me with 3 sensors. I use both the Rift and the Vive, and the tracking quality of the Rift with 3 sensors matches the Vive’s. The Touch controllers are much better than the Vive wands though, which is the reason why I prefer playing with the Rift.

  • Romulo de Castro

    I have the front two cameras setup and I haven`t had any issues with the touch unless I am hiding them closely behind my body. The two cameras are connected with USB 3.0 and the headset in a USB 2.0.

  • Paulo

    I’m getting sick of this clickbaitey Oculus trashing site we know as UploadVR. What happened?

    +1 for a 3 sensor setup with very little issues. My right hand drifted off once. Never seen it again.

    • Get Schwifty!

      My personal feeling is self-righteousness on the part of editors has a lot to do with it… I think many just plain don’t like Facebook and Zuckerberg and so they over-critique everything they do. What is particularly annoying is the inability of people to separate out when they are reading from facts (journalism) vs. opinion (OP-ED), because people have grown accustomed to a constant spew of media designed to play on their emotions without challenging them to think critically, but instead move as they are told. It doesn’t help that many of the OP-ED pieces are placed under “news” on this site, so its no wonder people think the way they do.

  • NooYawker

    There’s always a cost to be an early adopter.

  • They’re having issues in fixing the issues