The Samsung Gear VR, the very first commercially-available virtual reality headset, has been released today. Samsung had released two innovator editions of the Gear VR late last year, and in May of 2015, but those were more or less beta versions of the device.
Recently, Oculus, the company that makes the Gear VR, announced that the mobile virtual reality device was available for pre-order.
“We’ve been working closely with Samsung to bring the absolute best portable virtual reality experience to people all over the world. Starting today, you can pre-order the all new Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, for only $99. Gear VR is available on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Samsung.com and will ship on November 20th.”
Those who ordered from Best Buy, and paid for express shipping, received their units today. Those who ordered from Samsung had their orders cancelled. If you ordered your Gear VR from the usually trustworthy Amazon.com, you are out of luck. Several Reddit users are livid with Amazon over not only failing to ship the Gear VR on time, but the lack of communication.
“I pre-ordered GearVR on amazon a week ago, it hasn’t shipped yet. I ordered GearVR on bestbuy.com three hours ago and it just shipped,” claimed an angry Reddit user called “kevinstonge.”
“Amazon needs to be shamed for the lack of communication, horrible customer service. I bought my Note 5 from best buy and it was the easiest phone buying experience I had. Should have trusted them with the GearVr, Bestbuy gained a future customer,” Cowmoogun responded.
It appears that many Reddit users tried to get in touch with Amazon and were told different things by different people.
“I just called Amazon. They are clueless. We’re talking e-commerce 101 and logistics 101 here. And Amazon has no idea what it’s doing. Shocking,” says Mikey4tx.
The user goes on to add that a rep, on Friday morning, confirmed that they didn’t have any of the units in stock at the Amazon warehouse, but should ship them today if they get them in. It sounds like that was the easiest thing to say to a customer. It appears that many Reddit users canceled their orders from Amazon and ordered from Best Buy instead. Most of these users had their Best Buy orders shipped instantly.
Even though virtual reality (especially mobile virtual reality) has its limits, the Gear VR has been enthusiastically received. Wired is impressed with Oculus and Samsung’s new device.
“If you have a Samung phone already, spending $99 on it is a no-brainer. There’s nothing like it, and unless you have a high-end gaming PC or a Playstation 4—and then spend more than $300 on the VR system to go with them—it’s your best shot at VR for the next year or more.”
CNET gave the Gear VR four stars.
“The Gear VR’s relatively low price belies a compelling VR experience, and the games are quickly catching up to the hype. The headset is fairly light, and offers a completely cordless experience.”
CNET notes that not all is completely perfect, especially since you need a Samsung phone in order to operate the device. They also believe the Gear VR is less compelling than upcoming console and PC-based virtual reality headsets such as the Oculus Rift, which will be available in early 2016.
In the near future, the Gear VR will be seen as an innovative device that began the consumer virtual reality era. Let’s just hope that consumers who ordered from Amazon eventually get their devices.
[Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images]