Though Sony oped to get their HMZ-T1 to the market prior to the holidays by putting it up for sale on 11/11/11, it is now officially listed as “backorderable”. What does that mean? Well, for one, it means that even if you buy today, you won’t be able to get one in time for the holidays. It’s unclear if even those who pre-ordered the Sony HMZ-T1 will get theirs by that point.

Currently, the estimated ship date for the HMZ-T1 as listed on the US product page is 1/17/12. The review section of the product page now has a number of “reviews” from irate individuals who say that they pre-order the HMZ-T1 back in October, and were told that the product would ship by 10/26/11 (as I had reported that the product page was showing several weeks ago). One “review” in particular says that Sony kept moving the dates further back and eventually told them that the HMZ-T1 wouldn’t arrive until 11/21/11. As of November 6th, this person hasn’t received the unit.

Sony offered a response to the comment, indicating that they were not prepared for the amount of US demand for the HMZ-T1:

Hi Franz, so sorry for the confusion with the shipping dates. But…good news! Preorders have started to be filled! They are being filled in the order they were received.

The excitement for the Personal 3D Viewer and anticipation of its arrival in the US has exceeded our expectations and our inventory.

Our factories are working around the clock to produce more. We fill the preorders first (so you should be all set), then, we will be filling orders and Sony store shelves as inventory become available over the next days and weeks.

Thanks so much for your patience.

According to this response, it sounds like Sony is even diverting store stock to satisfy the pre-order demand, then they’ll be stocking the stores and filling further orders. I’ve been checking in on my local Sony store over the last few days to see if they had the HMZ-T1 in stock, and they still don’t have any in the store.

Sony Reportedly Pauses PSVR 2 Production Due to Low Sales

Presumably, the shortage will be cleared up eventually but I can’t help but feel for the folks that pre-ordered the unit and are now seeing delays in shipment. $799 is a pretty penny to drop for the Sony HMZ-T1; Sony ought to compensate these early adopters with at least a small token. After all, what’s the point of the pre-order if Sony wasn’t able to see the demand and adjust their production and distribution accordingly?

There is of course a silver lining here. As long as Sony can handle this initial mishap appropriately, then they can look forward to capitalizing on the higher demand than they had initially expected. I still feel like Sony ought to be selling the HMZ-T1 in conjunction with the PS3. Maybe offer a black edition of the HMZ-T1 and give 50% off of a PS3 if you buy the two together?

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."