Customers who pre-ordered an Oculus Rift VR headset last month have been facing shipping delays as Oculus scrambles to meet rising demand for the Rift. Competitor HTC just might be poised to poach some of those customers who, frustrated by delays, cancel their pre-orders and decide to go with the more expensive, premium VR headset, the HTC Vive.
According to the Verge, customers who pre-ordered the Oculus Rift last month before the VR headset’s March 31 launch are receiving emails with revised shipment dates citing manufacturing and logistics delays. Some customers report that they’ve received emails pushing back the shipment date of their Oculus Rift pre-orders to late summer 2016, some as late as July.
The Oculus Rift, the VR headset from Facebook-owned Oculus, has been available for pre-orders for months. After glowing reviews from tech news outlets, Oculus reports that the number of pre-orders continues to rise, leading to manufacturing and shipping delays as demand outstrips the supply of the Oculus Rift headsets.
The Rift shipping delays could be bad news for Oculus, however, with some customers reporting on Reddit that they will be canceling their pre-orders and potentially ordering the HTC Vive instead, which will ship as early as April for some pre-order customers and as late as May for current orders. It’s still a long wait, but given the anticipation that has built up around the first generation of truly consumer-oriented virtual reality headsets, it could be a more enticing solution to waiting until August for an Oculus Rift headset. The HTC Vive is, by all accounts, more expensive and by some accounts superior to the Oculus Rift.
The HTC Vive is a more expensive entry into the VR marketplace, but it does include room scale VR, with two room sensors and included motion controllers. However, HTC has also been reporting some shipping issues and manufacturing shortages surrounding the Vive, but it appears that HTC is confirming that customers can expect to receive their Vive headsets the same month cited in their confirmation email, a big difference from the continual revisions that Oculus has sent out of its own Rift shipment dates.
“Your Vive system will be shipped in the month noted in your order confirmation email. If you received a confirmation for April, you are absolutely going to get your order in April,” said HTC’s vice president of virtual reality, Daniel O’Brien.
Oculus has sent out another round of emails, reports USA Today, confirming the shipment delays that early adopters will face in the coming months. The announcement is leading many frustrated potential customers to lash out on social media, venting their frustrations at Oculus for the company’s failure to produce the Rift headsets within the timeframe the Facebook-owned company initially promised.
Oculus has, for its part, responded to the criticism by waiving shipment fees for pre-orders that have been delayed. According to the Verge, Oculus Rift headsets that were promised to Kickstarter early backers will likely not be delayed due to the fact that they are coming from a separate allotment of the Rift headsets. It’s likely the VR headsets for Kickstarter backers were already set aside before the manufacturing delays caused Oculus to delay pre-orders en masse.
Still, this isn’t a problem most gamers will be affected by, given the high barriers to entry for this generation of consumer-friendly virtual reality headsets: high price and steep system requirements. Industry analysts suggest that the PlayStation VR headset, which is set to debut this holiday season, could be the first truly consumer-friendly entrance into the premium VR marketplace, with a lower barrier to entry for PS4 (and PS Move) owners who will already own important parts of the required hardware.
Editor’s note: Oculus reached out to the inquisitr with the following statement.
“The component shortage impacted our quantities more than we expected, and we’ve updated the shipment window to reflect these changes. We apologize for the delay.
We’re delivering Rifts to customers every day, and we’re focused on getting Rifts out the door as fast as we can. We’ve taken steps to address the component shortage, and we’ll continue shipping in higher volumes each week. We’ve also increased our manufacturing capacity to allow us to deliver in higher quantities, faster. Many Rifts will ship less than four weeks from original estimates, and we hope to beat the new estimates we’ve provided.”
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]