The Oculus Rift’s big launch week has been dampened a bit by the fact there apparently just aren’t that many headsets to go around. A lot of people who preordered have no real idea when their headset might ship, and Oculus has been mostly silent on what’s going on.
That changed somewhat yesterday, when Oculus founder Palmer Luckey posted a few updates about the Rift shipping situation. First of all, he Tweeted an update that was really just a screenshot of a previous update:
When asked for more specifics he responded with a screenshot of the screenshot:
The Oculus subreddit has been an unusual mixture of excitement and discontent this week, and has been home to many threads complaining about the lack of shipping information. Luckey turned up there yesterday in response to a thread directly addressing him and asking for more info:
Don’t shunt blame to other people, this is my call. I am not going to wax poetic about this, since I have done so in the past, but bottom-line: I won’t give in-depth updates on any situation without knowing it is solid, true, and finalized. Until I can do so, the best I can do is remind people that I will get them information as quickly as I can.
On the rare occasions when things still change, even when they change for reasons out of my control, I get crucified anyway. Sometimes that means updates have to wait until things get locked down, and sometimes that means waiting a little longer to give everyone good info.
In another later thread, he got a little more prickly, pointing out that the subreddit was not indicative of Oculus’ actual reach or audience:
Imagine how much more different this sub would be 1000s of people had rifts instead of the handful now. Not very different, apparently, because there are already many thousands of Rifts out there even at this early point, with more arriving as we speak. Remember that this sub[reddit] is a tiny minority of the overall VR market - 70k is not even an accurate measure, considering how many subs are from old accounts or lurkers with no headset. The vast majority of people don’t care about posting pictures or reviews of their new toy to an internet enthusiast group.
Luckey sounds frustrated with all the complaining, which is understandable—I’m sure everyone at Oculus is doing what they can to get headsets to everyone, and that they’d love nothing more than for their neat gizmo to be in the public’s hands ASAP.
He’s also probably right that lots of the people who have Rifts don’t post on the Oculus subreddit… but the fact remains that a lot of people who post there are hardcore fans who preordered within the first ten minutes and feel totally in the dark about when their headset might ship.
The bigger issue is that Oculus appears to have no substantive customer service apparatus in place to deal with complaints and give out detailed information to individuals, and that fans’ main source of new information has been a few Tweets and reddit posts from the company’s founder. It does sound as though some people are starting to receive the Rifts they ordered, however, so hopefully more will ship in the near future.
Update, 4/2: In an email sent to customers, Oculus has cited “an unexpected component shortage” as the cause of the delay. They’ve volunteered to cover shipping costs for all orders made before April 1st, and say everyone’s order status page should be updated with a new shipping window by April 12.