Facebook is Closing Down 40 Percent of its Best Buy Oculus Demo Stations

Facebook is Closing Down 40 Percent of its Best Buy Oculus Demo Stations

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Oculus and Best Buy are closing down roughly 200 Oculus VR demo stations due to "store performance."

In May 2016, Oculus began installing demo station of its VR headset in Best Buys around the US. By the end of the year, the company had 500 of the demo stations in stores. But that number is about to drop dramatically, as Business Insider reports that about 200 of the demo stations are being shut down due to "Store performance."

Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert did confirm the closings, but she characterized them as "seasonal changes." Her full statement said,

"We're making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets. You can still request Rift demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the US and Canada.

We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo. We're going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year."

While that may be the case, Best Buy employees told Business Insider that it was not uncommon for them to go days without anyone coming in for a demo. An internal memo sent by a third-party contractor classified the closings as happening because of "store performance."

One anonymous Texas Best Buy worker is quoted as saying, "There'd be some days where I wouldn't give a demo at all because people didn't want to."

Best Buy will continue to sell the Oculus Rift in stores that are losing their demo stations. In other news, the company recently lost a $500 million judgment in a suit filed against it by Zenimax.

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I'd say its probably a combination of the potential lawsuit loss and the sales figures not quite being up to the snuff they thought they'd get. A little bit of hubris perhaps, thinking a high dollar item like that (plus the required hardware) would just fly off the shelves?
IF VR was more affordable, and had defined concepts for games instead of glorified tech demos (for the most part), maybe we'd see a jump in sales figures... but to be honest, there's a whole lot of hoopla and very little substance overall. Pretty much why I said I'd not be buying one at launch or anytime soon after that. I may one day pick one up on clearance, but not necessarily for gaming, rather to try the virtual desktop or theater stuff because that interests me a lot more.

Yup, the equipment and up front costs for tech demos, add nausea risk plus limited time with the use of the brand new equipment.

I would really like a nice pair of home theater glasses first and then after that is an assured performance I would do the whole VR thing with games a lot more.

Oculus seems to be the Betamax of VR

Imperioratorex Caprae:
IF VR was more affordable, and had defined concepts for games instead of glorified tech demos (for the most part), maybe we'd see a jump in sales figures... but to be honest, there's a whole lot of hoopla and very little substance overall.

This is pretty accurate from a personal perspective.

I've played with VR. Fairly extensively. A friend of mine has a PSVR setup at his home (provided by another friend who got one cheap because he works at Sony). We had a great laugh and a lot of fun over a couple evenings with beer and games on it. To the point I was unexpectedly quite impressed with the whole thing.

Interested, I decided to take a look on amazon to see how much it would set me back...

...PSVR, ?350. Plus a camera at ?40 and a pair of motion controllers at ?70 for the two.

Four hundred and sixty pounds. Before software. For what is widely regarded as a fairly cheap way to do it (because it doesn't require PC upgrades). It was fun to play with. But not at that price, not without some more substantial things out there.

I've got to say- maybe I'm the exception, maybe I somehow managed to stake out an oblique corner of the news- and Internet- world where word never got out to me- but I've been looking for a chance to demo VR technology, and I feel I've only been hearing about demos at places like Best Buy when they're starting to withdraw their presence there.

So, again, perhaps I've somehow coincidentally managed to be out of earshot when these promotions have been getting around- but perhaps a little more of the funding for these demos should have instead gone to advertising their existence?

Quellist:
Oculus seems to be the Betamax of VR

They're all Betamax at the moment.

It's a weird world when Sony are the market leaders in consumer VR, which they are quite comfortably at the moment.

Occulus and HTC/Valve seem to be mooching around in the corner at the moment, but then I'm not sure why anyone thought consumer grade VR was going to be the next big thing anyway. For hardcore sim pilots and racers it's amazing, for anyone without a dedicated simpit it's expensive and useless. Of the two I'm expecting Occulus to do better in the end, Valve's allowance of Shovelware and general lack of direction will hurt them just like it hurt Steam Machines. Facebook are at least putting money into game development, but are a couple of years away at minimum from seeing the benefits.

fix-the-spade:

Quellist:
Oculus seems to be the Betamax of VR

They're all Betamax at the moment.

Not exactly. If the only VCR that was available on the market was Betamax, you'd take Betamax and not think much of it- because you'd still probably think being able to watch movies at home and record shows while you were away from home was worth it.

I think it's more like 3D TV- right down to taking an experience that normally has the capacity to be enjoyed to some extent by everyone in the room and making a "better" experience that can only really be enjoyed by the people wearing the hardware.

The problem is, like 3D TV, if VR disappeared tomorrow- how many people would feel they'd really missed out on something special? Probably mostly the ones who already invested in the product in the expectation of a continuing stream of compatible content.

Callate:
The problem is, like 3D TV, if VR disappeared tomorrow- how many people would feel they'd really missed out on something special? Probably mostly the ones who already invested in the product in the expectation of a continuing stream of compatible content.

I could quite happily play Elite: Dangerous on my DK2 forever, if it were to die out I'd be very sad.

But that does highlight the problem. I'm into sims, I bought into VR for sims and nothing else. It must really smart to have paid out for nebulous future content and not be getting it.

Regardless, Elite in VR is stupendous, it's one thing to know the Anaconda is bigger than a football field, it's quite another to have it actually look that big in your vision.

fix-the-spade:

Quellist:
Oculus seems to be the Betamax of VR

They're all Betamax at the moment.

It's a weird world when Sony are the market leaders in consumer VR, which they are quite comfortably at the moment.

Occulus and HTC/Valve seem to be mooching around in the corner at the moment, but then I'm not sure why anyone thought consumer grade VR was going to be the next big thing anyway. For hardcore sim pilots and racers it's amazing, for anyone without a dedicated simpit it's expensive and useless. Of the two I'm expecting Occulus to do better in the end, Valve's allowance of Shovelware and general lack of direction will hurt them just like it hurt Steam Machines. Facebook are at least putting money into game development, but are a couple of years away at minimum from seeing the benefits.

This exactly! It's both too expensive and too crude to be worth it for too many people. Sony's VR, while still expensive is the least bad option. Still i'm not convinced its going to really take off in any form until the tech improves at the consumer level and gets cheaper

i looked into getting VR for my computer.. by the time i get a new video card and the set up im basically looking at the price of a whole new pc for the ability to play the odd tech demo and 4 or so games i have in my steam library that are vr compatible.. yeah so not worth it

I didn't know oculus rift was even available. It seemed to be something perpetually being made. So it's actually a thing that exists now? Can we as gamers actually use it for anything? Does it work with the same things as Vive? How does it compare with the Vive? I see Vive on Steam but don't even know what it's used for.

 

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