Many pre-orders still not shipped
[Update: Oculus sent out an update today clarifying what is going on and confirming the delay has been caused by an unexpected component shortage. Oculus is also footing the bill for shipping.
“We know you’re anxious to receive your Oculus Rift and apologize for not updating your order status sooner. We’ve been working through an unexpected component shortage, and unfortunately, that issue has impacted the original shipping estimates for some early customers.
We’re working hard to get up-to-date ship windows, and you should expect to see your order status updated on oculus.com by Tuesday, April 12. Although many Rifts will be arriving on schedule and in line with original estimates, we’ll be covering shipping and handling costs for all orders placed through today.
We’re shipping Rifts every day. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Oculus support team if you have additional questions.”
It looks like Oculus may have sold better than expected considering Palmer had said: “If enough people pre-order and somehow exhaust all the stock we are building up, later orders will just have a later ship date.” That or a defect was discovered after the fact that needed fixed.]
The Oculus Rift launched on March 28, or at least, that is what Oculus would like us to believe. The reality is that North American Kickstarter backers received their units on or around the launch, and the first person to pre-order the Rift received it hand-delivered by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, but many people who were quoted March shipping dates still have not had their Rifts shipped. Why?
Luckey is staying pretty quiet about the whole ordeal, and what little he has said comes across as a bit lacking. “Stay tuned for future updates, I will give them as soon as possible — this particular update was set in stone just hours ago!” Luckey tweeted on March 27 before posting a screencap of that same tweet just four days later on March 31. In the mentions of the screencapped tweet, someone asked “when?” to which Palmer responded with a screencap of “as soon as possible.”
The Oculus subreddit has been filled with threads by redditors furious that their pre-orders have not been fulfilled yet and about the lack of communication from Oculus on the situation. Palmer eventually responded to a couple of these threads, stating that he “won’t give in-depth updates on any situation without knowing it is solid, true, and finalized,” and that “many thousands of Rifts (are) out there” in consumers’ hands.
While all the details aren’t clear, there are glaring problems with the Oculus Rift launch. First off, Kickstarter backers were never promised a complete retail version of the headset, but they got one anyway. Secondly, the pre-order page went live minutes early, and people placed their order before the intended start time indicated by a countdown timer on the homepage of the Oculus Rift site. Instead of keeping things fair, Oculus honored those orders, and those who waited until the page was supposed to be live are seemingly still waiting, myself included. I managed to get my order in at 8:05am, as I found a link to pre-order from a post in the Oculus subreddit since the page with the countdown timer didn’t display the link right away.
What I know for sure is that I and many others received an email on March 24 stating “Your Rift is almost ready to ship, and your order will be processed in the next 1-3 weeks. For some customers, your actual ship date may differ from the estimate you saw when ordering,” and that is the last I’ve heard about my Rift. My press contact has no other information at this time, and Forbes came up empty-handed when it contacted customer support. At this rate, I’ll more than likely have the HTC Vive on its April 5 launch before my Rift even gets shipped.
Maybe I’m just spoiled, but I’ve had no trouble getting any new piece of consumer hardware at launch pending I pre-ordered it or waited in line the night before release. I’ve never seen another launch where the only people who had the hardware at launch are developers, press, the first guy to pre-order, and those who helped crowdfund the item years ago. Nor have I witnessed a company take pre-orders months in advance, only to delay shipments just days before launch.
I guess Luckey wasn’t lying when he said “shipping a real consumer product is more complex than janking out a dev kit.”