oculus rift best practices guide for virtual reality development

Oculus VR Inc has announced that Oculus Rift developer kits (DK1) are in short supply, the company will suspend shipping due to shortage of components.

Oculus VR Inc’s community manager, Andres ‘cybereality’ Hernandez, announced via the Oculus subreddit that “certain components” used in the Oculus Rift developer kit (DK1) are no longer available:

Certain components used in the Oculus Rift developer kit are no longer being manufactured, meaning they are no longer available to us for production. As a result, we don’t have the necessary materials to produce additional kits. We still have some stock available, but we’re quickly running out. We are looking into alternate sources for the needed components, and we don’t yet have a timeline for when additional units will be available. We’ll be sure to keep everyone posted.

Hernandez goes on to note that the remaining stock is only being sold in the following countries:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Countries in the European Union
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • Switzerland
  • Norway

“As we sell out of inventory in each region we plan to suspend sales in that region until we are able to deliver new orders,” writes Hernandez. “We never expected to sell so many development kits and VR only made this much progress with the community’s support and enthusiasm. Even though we never wanted to sell out, it’s a good problem to have—Thank you!”

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“A Good Problem to Have”

Oculus co-founder and Rift inventor, Palmer Luckey, holding the DK1

The Oculus Rift Kickstarter, which ran back in August of 2012, had a (relatively) modest goal of $250,000 which translates to around 833 developer kits. The Kickstarter went on to raise $2.43 million, amounting to some 7,400 development kits. Post-Kickstarter demand has been huge, with Oculus having now shipped more than 50,000 developer kits.

The screen is the most likely bet for the component Oculus is missing. The Rift developer kit (DK1) was originally planned to use a 5-inch panel. When it was discontinued before Rift production, Oculus moved to the current 7-inch 1280×800 panel. I can’t imagine that such a panel, previously found in devices like UMPCs, draws much demand in 2014.

High demand for the developer kit is a good problem to have, but suspended sales is not one that you want to have for long; the Rift would be dead in the water without content made by developers by the time it hits the consumer market.

This news has naturally prompted curiosity about the release of the second Oculus Rift developer kit (DK2) which Oculus confirmed late last year. It’s likely that Oculus had some advanced warning before the discontinuation of the component, though it may have come sooner than they would have liked. Still, with some interesting hints about their plans for next months GDC event, this could provide a natural transition to launching the second Oculus Rift developer kit (DK2). For now, only time will tell.

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