Since last week Oculus Quest 2 had disappeared across a range of Amazon EU websites. Oculus says it was due to previously reported skin irritation caused by the facepad on a small number of units. While the company says the issue itself has been addressed, a newly published EU Commission filing about the same issue led to a short pause in sales on Amazon EU sites. Quest 2 remains available directly from Oculus and is expected to return to Amazon EU sites soon.
Update (May 18th, 2021 – 5:44PM PT): After publishing our initial article investigating the removal of Quest 2 from Amazon EU sites, Oculus reached out with some additional info which confirmed our findings.
“Amazon has temporarily paused selling Quest 2 in Europe, in response to an EU Commission filing this week regarding the foam interface. We shared back in April that the foam interface issue has been resolved, and we’re working closely with Amazon to have Quest 2 back on sale as soon as possible,” a spokesperson tells Road to VR.
Oculus says the new filing from the European Commission Safety Gate, which communicates product safety notices to the public, is not referring to a new issue, but the same one the company initially identified in December and offered an update about in April. The company has been offering free facepad replacement for units manufactured in a certain timeframe (see the support page here for details).
The original article, which investigated reports of Quest 2 being delisted on Amazon EU sites, continues below.
Original Article (May 18th, 2021): Road to VR checked every Amazon website globally to look for Quest 2 availability and found that the headset is currently unavailable in many European regions. Curiously, availability of the headset directly from Oculus in the same regions doesn’t appear to be impacted.
The European Commission Safety Gate website, which communicates product safety notices to the public, confirms these reports through an alert dated May 12th.
The foam of the product contains substances (e.g.: Propylene carbonate, Phenol, fragrance 7-hydroxycitronellal and Benzocaine) which are skin and eye irritants. Consequently the user could suffer from irritation. The product does not comply with the requirements of the General Product Safety Directive.
The page further notes, “The product was sold online, in particular via Amazon,” and points to an Oculus Support page addressing the issue, in which Oculus says it has changed its manufacturing processes to reduce the likelihood that “trace substances” that could lead to skin irritation aren’t introduced during manufacturing. Oculus is also offering a free replacement of the Quest 2 facepad for headsets manufactured within a certain timeframe.
Oculus has dealt with this issue previously. Back in late December the company published a blog post saying it had received reports of skin irritation from 0.01% of people using Quest 2, and that an investigation was underway. The company updated that post in mid-April with the following:
After conducting a comprehensive investigation into this issue, we did not find any contamination or unexpected substances in our manufacturing process. We identified a few trace substances that are normally present in the manufacturing process which could contribute to skin discomfort, and while these were already at levels below the industry standard, out of an abundance of caution we changed our process to reduce them even further. We’ve confirmed with expert dermatologists and toxicologists that these levels are considered extremely low. While this issue has only been reported by a very small percentage of Quest 2 users, with these changes, we believe that users are even less likely to experience irritation resulting from any substances in the foam facial interface. We encourage any customer who experiences irritation from using Quest 2 to contact Oculus Support for a facial interface replacement.
The disappearance of Quest 2 headsets in the last week seem likely related to this issue, though the specifics aren’t clear. It’s possible that the original root cause during manufacturing has occurred again, but another possibility is that a regulatory body, Amazon, or an internal decision may have compelled Oculus to do more than simply offer to replace the facepad, and instead asked the company to prevent the further sale of potentially problematic Quest 2 batches.
So far Oculus has not confirmed that the removal of Quest 2 headsets from Amazon is related to the skin irritation issue. We’ll keep this article updated as we learn more.