In a recent update to Kickstarter backers, Oculus VR Inc. has announced that the much anticipated Doom 3: BFG, the game that John Carmack used to help catapult the Oculus Rift’s fame, will not ship alongside the Oculus Rift Kickstarter rewards as originally intended. The company has offered a few options as compensation, including a full refund should you desire. Along with that unfortunate news comes an indication that Oculus Rift developer kits will begin shipping in the very near future.
An Unfortunate Announcement
Back in August 2012, when the Oculus Rift Kickstarter began, Oculus offered multiple tiers for backers willing to part with their own money in order to support the fledgling VR HMD project. All the reward tiers that included an actual Oculus Rift Developer Kit (the HMD itself) also included a copy of the then yet-to-be-released Doom 3: BFG. The title had been used by John Carmack himself in the now famous ‘Magic Hat’ demos given at E3 back in 2012 and was for a time the new HMD’s ‘killer app’. Doom 3: BFG launched in October 2012 without Oculus Rift support. It was expected that an update would be issued when the Rift launched to add virtual reality support.
But today, thousands of Kickstarter backers were left disappointed by the latest update from Oculus HQ stating that:
When we launched the Kickstarter campaign, we said we’d bundle a copy of DOOM 3 BFG Edition with each development kit as an extra “Thank you.” Unfortunately, we’ve been informed that DOOM 3 BFG Edition will not support the Rift development kit by the time we begin shipping.
No further details as to why the game was so very suddenly unavailable, nor if/when it would be ready for the Rift.
Perhaps the BFG team were unhappy with the implementation and felt it wasn’t ready for even developer consumption? Perhaps the sheer number of Doom 3 copies required to fulfill the Kickstarter rewards became too much for publisher Bethesda to fulfill (although why now)? Perhaps the commercial promise of owning the IP to the most famous Oculus Rift enabled title was too tempting to resist? Frankly, we may not know for some time, if ever.
To Oculus’ great credit (and we suspect substantial financial debit) they’ve given Kickstarter backers three options to compensate for this unexpected turn of events:
– $20 Steam Wallet credit, perfect for buying your next game on Steam (including DOOM 3 BFG Edition without Rift developer kit support if you still want it).
– $25 Oculus Store credit, which can be applied to future purchases at the Oculus Store including Oculus Latency Testers, new Oculus t-shirts, and more Rift development kits.
– A full refund for your pledge. If you’re unhappy with the options above, we completely understand. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to discuss your specific order or refund your pledge in full.
Again, the advise to early Kickstarter backers that you choose your alternative reward as soon as possible as every indication is that Oculus are due to begin processing these orders imminently.
Dev Kits Likely to Ship Imminently
On the bright side however, the update email also urges early Kickstarter backers to ensure their shipping address details are up to date and complete:
Assuming you’re in the first batch of development kits to ship out, the next 24 hours are your absolute last chance to update your shipping address.
Please visit https://oculusvr.com/sales/ one last time to make sure everything’s up to date! Once we begin processing your rewards, your shipping address will be locked.
There is speculation as to exactly how many units this ‘first batch’ comprises. Current best guesses (based on previous Kickstarter updates) is around 5000 Oculus HMDs. Thanks to some fairly painstaking stats gathering by the community, order numbers do indeed seem to be relative to when the pledge was made. Establishing whether your order number guarantees you a unit from the first batch is, at best, an educated guess. The latest Oculus Rift shipping schedule is as follows:
- Kickstarter orders for unassambled dev kits (limited run of 100 units): Unkown
- First batch of Kickstarter orders (5,000 units): Mid-March
- Remaining batch of Kickstarter orders (2,500 units): Mid-April
- Direct pre-order through official website: Late April
Either way, it now seems certain that Oculus’s promise to have dev kits in at least some developer’s hands by the time GDC 2013 rolls around will be fulfilled. The Oculus has hinted that GDC will see new developer showcases for the Rift. We know Valve intend to discuss VR development this year, specifically regarding Team Fortress 2, as to who else has existing announcements up their sleeves, we’ll have to wait and see.
If you’re a Kickstarter backer, come and tell us all about your Oculus rift shipping stories over on our forums.