Today Oculus has announced plans to offer in-store demos at 48 Best Buy locations across the U.S. starting on May 7th.

Selling VR headsets is a particularly tough challenge because the only way to understand the experience of virtual reality is to see it for yourself.

Oculus plans to combat that hurdle by bringing in-store Rift demo stations to potential customers. The company says that on May 7th they’ll roll out such demo headsets in 48 Best Buy stores across the U.S. as part of The Intel Experience.


Apparently anticipating great demand, the company has launched ‘Oculus Live‘, a scheduling system to allow advanced Oculus Rift demo appointments up to a month ahead of time.

Experiences shown at the demos include Crytek’s The Climb, vignettes from Dreamdeck, and Farlands.

See Also: Oculus Rift Review: Prologue to a New Reality
See Also: Oculus Rift Review – Prologue to a New Reality

Oculus also says that folks who pre-ordered the Rift but manage to buy the headset at retail (with limited quantities available at “select” Best Buy stores starting May 7 and online from Microsoft and Amazon, starting May 6 at 9am PST) will be able to keep their pre-order benefits. The company says to go to your order status to let them know if you’ve purchased the headset at retail and they will cancel your pre-order while letting you keep your copy of EVE: Valkyrie, position in line for the Oculus Touch launch, and offers for Oculus Ready PCs.

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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."
  • Raphael

    We don’t have Best Buy outside of the US. I guess it’s good to get VR into various stores though.

    • VR Geek

      Best Buy is all over Canada too

  • George Vieira IV

    Thats an odd stance on preorders, but I appreciate it. They probably promised Best Buy a certain amount, so they have to give it to them first, but want the people who preordered be happy. Seems a good middle ground. It’s also win/win for those who preordered, as anyone who cancels their order because they got one in store, moves the rest of preorders up in the line.

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      That’s some back asswards logic. It’s not a win/win, it’s a lose.
      Let’s change it to ice cream on a hot summer day.
      You’ve been waiting in line for 30 minutes, there’s 20 people in line, you’re #7. You see that Mr #4 was bumped up from 4 to 1, and has his ice cream. You don’t care but how do u think the first 3 people feel? Then #18 just got moved to the front of the line, while u sit there waiting ur turn. Now #21 who wasn’t even in line, gets his ice cream before u do.
      Still think it’s a win/win?

      • George Vieira IV

        That isn’t really the case here though. Retailers are often promised quantities before release, in order to get physical space in their store fronts, so you could think of it as Best Buy pre ordered their lots first.

        That Best Buy is getting their lot of RIfts isn’t pushing back the delivery of pre orders, it was the part shortages that limited the amount of products Oculus was able to produce.

        In ice cream terms: You call up Cold Stone and order some ice cream, and get a free Mug with your ordered. When you get there you find out that the store just had to ship their last tub of ice cream over to Baskin Robbins, they had planned to make more by the time you got there but the machine broke down, and now you’ll have to wait, or if you would like, you can go to Baskin Robbins, and Cold Stone will still give you your free Mug, even though you are buying it through the other store. Several other people are waiting behind you as well, so if you go to Baskin Robbins, not only will you get your ice cream sooner, so will the people behind you.

        I’m not saying having to wait is good, just that it’s make the best of a bad situation.

  • Hayk Amirbekyan

    what about Canada?

    • Raphael

      What is Canada?

    • TaxPayer

      ya we have best buy too, they better bring it here by June

  • cdm283813

    Oculus needs to worry about getting the first hour pre-orders in people’s hands. I’m still scheduled from 5-9 to 5-19 and my order was placed in the first 10 minutes.

  • Foreign Devil

    WHen is the touch coming out? I don’t want to buy a half kit. Want the complete experience.

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      Thats why I bought the Vive

    • nothing is stopping you from buying the Touch controllers later. These are still early days, with a limited selection of titles. The xbox controller suffices for now.

  • George Vieira IV

    Just read a Billboard article here:

    That says that the stores listed here: are the stores that will get the Rifts in stock. I wonder if they are just assuming that the ones that have demos will also have them is stock, or if they know for sure.

  • sfmike

    I find this a REALLY poor business decision. Fill the pre-orders first! This is not the way to show you are a reliable mature company by screwing over your early supporters who have their orders in and wallets open but are given the finger to put units in best buy. I personally am pissed and considering cancelling my order.

  • Jim Cherry

    I hope best buy sells its demo units for cheap next year ;}

  • James

    Vive is way better!

    • yeah but that will change in a few months when Oculus Touch is released

      • richard coughlan

        I doubt it. The oculus cam doesn’t track as well as the vive’s lighthouse method. That is huge to overall quality of the vr experience. Room scale!

        • Dude. The vive uses two lighthouses, not one. Oculus will also sell a second tracker. The one tracker right now works brilliantly (Every review i’ve read says so). Two trackers will give Vive a run for its money.

  • George Vieira IV

    FYI for those interested:

    I stopped by the store in my state that got the Rift, Unfortunately I had to work that morning, so I didn’t get to the store until about 30 minutes after they opened. When I walked in I saw a couple of Rifts in people’s carts as they browsed around the store. Unfortunately when I talked to the sales associate he informed me they were sold out. He said they had about 10 people lined up in the morning and had “about 10” Rifts.

    So if that can be believed, and each store got a similar allotment, then we can surmized Best Buy got 480 units.Seeing as how they built a storefront around the Rift, I’m guessing they were given more units that Amazon or Walmart. It could be that Oculus allotted 1000 units to other retailers.