Earlier this year, Oculus announced that it would have to delay shipping out its next-generation VR headset due to an unspecified component shortage. This delay, combined with the fact that it shipped limited numbers of headsets to retail while pre-order customers waited for delivery, cost Oculus some significant good will — especially since HTC has been meeting shipments for its Vive since early June. Oculus has finally resolved its problems, however, and announced today that the last of its pre-orders has finally shipped out.
In a recent blog post, the company wrote:
All Rift pre-orders have now shipped, and new Rift orders from Oculus.com are shipping within 2 to 4 business days. If you have any questions about existing orders or your current shipment status, please reach out to us here.
We want to apologize for the delays in getting Rifts to doorsteps. We appreciate that without your support, VR wouldn’t be where it is today. Thank you for your patience over the past few months.
We’ve also started to ramp up inventory for retail partners online and in stores, and added more Rift demos at new retail locations across the US. Starting this month, you’ll be able to get your hands on Rift at select Microsoft Stores. In addition, our demo space will expand at Best Buy to more than 500 US stores now through the fall.
The company also notes that it’ll have lots more to share about Oculus Touch at its OC3 (Oculus Connect 3) event later this year, along with more than 30 launch titles to showcase. OC3 is October 5 – 7 this fall, which implies that Oculus Touch won’t debut before Q4 2016 at the earliest. Oculus will probably launch Touch at the event, but whether that means immediate availability or a holiday ship date is still unknown.
The Rift’s lack of Touch isn’t trivial — more than a few reviewers have ultimately given the nod to HTC’s Vive over the Oculus Rift precisely because the Vive’s handheld controllers add an additional layer to the VR experience that the Rift currently lacks. On the other hand, the Oculus Rift has generally won out over the HTC Vive in terms of head-fit and ease-of-use (Your mileage may vary, of course). A good set of controllers at a reasonable price could do much to cut the perceived gap between the two systems — provided Oculus brings its Touch controllers in at a reasonable price.
The company hasn’t stated if current Rift owners will receive any kind of discount on the new hardware launches or any timeline for when it may introduce a new Rift 2.0. It’s still unclear what kind of timeline Oculus and HTC will pursue for updating their hardware. Too soon, and users who shucked out $600 – $800 will feel cheated — but VR is a rapidly evolving space and we expect to see significant hardware improvements over the next 12-24 months.