The Oculus Rift launch saga continues. Following a surprise delay of nearly two months, some orders are now shipping out significantly ahead of the initial delay estimates provided by Oculus. Meanwhile, eager customers seek the fastest way to get their hands on the Rift.
Oculus Rift Shipping Delay Recap
The Oculus Rift opened for pre-orders on January 6th and was set to officially launch on March 28th. Customers with first-day pre-orders were expecting their Rift on or around that date, but as it came and went, it became clear that a substantial number of orders hadn’t shipped, including many orders from customers who were at the forefront of the queue.
Oculus acknowledge the delay within a week of the March 28th launch, saying only that it was caused by an “unexpected component shortage” and opted to refund all shipping charges for orders up to that point. The company also promised to provide updated shipping estimates to its customers by April 14th.
When those updated estimates came in however, the delay turned out to be more significant than anticipated, with some of the earliest pre-orders not expected to ship until some two months after the initial launch date.
We’re now getting reports that some orders, while still delayed from the initial March 28th launch date, are shipping out earlier than the delay estimate. One customer we spoke with, who pre-ordered the Rift within 60 minutes of availability, has seen their Rift ship significantly ahead of their estimate.
For this particular customer, Oculus estimated the Rift wouldn’t ship until sometime between May 23rd and June 2nd, around two months after the official launch date. However, the customer tells us that their Rift was shipped today, about one month ahead of the delay estimate, and about one month after the official launch date.
It isn’t clear how many other customers are likely to see the same treatment, but a statement from Oculus provided to Road to VR seems to indicate that the delay estimates are conservative:
We’re delivering Rifts to customers every day, and we’re focused on getting Rifts out the door as fast as we can. We’ve taken steps to address the component shortage, and we’ll continue shipping in higher volumes each week. We’ve also increased our manufacturing capacity to allow us to deliver in higher quantities, faster. Many Rifts will ship less than four weeks from original estimates, and we hope to beat the [delay] estimates we’ve provided.
A report from Digitimes published last week points to the Rift’s unique lenses as the explanation of the “unexpected component shortage” that caused the delay, however the source of the information is not identified by the publication.
Jumping the Line
Eager customers are of course looking to find the fastest way to get their Rift, especially when newly placed orders are not expected to ship until August.
While Oculus is the only place that you can buy the Rift by itself, the company has partnered with retailers Amazon, Best Buy, and Microsoft to sell Oculus Rift + PC bundles which include an ‘Oculus Ready PC’ along with the headset. In some cases, it seems that people ordering from these retailers may see their order shipped substantially sooner than even those who pre-ordered the headset on day one from Oculus. That would suggest that Oculus allocated some number of headsets to these retailers which are independent of the Oculus pre-order queue.
One user over at the Oculus section of Reddit says they ordered the Oculus Rift PC bundle from Microsoft and received a shipping confirmation within hours, with expected delivery of both the PC and the headset in just two days. That’s compared to new orders placed with Oculus having an estimated ship date some four months from the placement of the order.
Some eager Reddit users have suggested to those that have no need for the bundled PC to simply sell it or even try to return just the PC part of the bundle, though it isn’t clear if the latter would be allowable by the retailers’ return policies. Furthermore, at the time of writing, all 20 Oculus Rift bundles offered between Amazon, Microsoft, and Best Buy are now sold out across the board.