Oculus Rift is being sold at retail before all pre-orders have been fulfilled

Will you cancel your pre-order?

“Pre-order” has a pretty well-defined meaning. If you pre-order something, the expectation is that one of whatever it is you’re pre-ordering will be saved for you, and you’ll get it on, or sometimes before, the day it’s launched at retail. This saves you the hassle of going to a shop to get it, while also making sure you’ll have the item as soon as it’s in stock.

Makes sense, right? Not to Oculus, apparently, who are now shipping out the Rift to retailers, despite the many customers yet to see their headset over a month since launch.

According to Oculus, a “small number of Rifts” will be available through Amazon and Microsoft from May 6, and Best Buy from May 7. Apparently stocks of them will be low so they can “catch up” on the customers they’ve left in the lurch for weeks now.

So if you have a Rift pre-order, you’ve got two choices. You could sit tight and wait for your “pre”order to come in whenever stocks are available and not being sent to sell in shops instead. Alternatively, you could cancel your pre-order and chance getting one from retail before they’re all snatched up by scalpers wanting to make a quick buck reselling them for inflated prices on ebay.

If you do go for the second option, Oculus says they will still honour the pre-order bonuses such as the EVE: Valkyrie founders pack, and priority status for pre-ordering the Touch controller. Don’t worry about them cocking up your current pre-order, because at least you can try again with their next thing.

What a fabulous way to make a sizable install base that’s worth developing VR games for. Piss off your most loyal fans while handing over stock they should be getting to people who’ll instantly sell it on for twice the price, putting off people who weren’t interested enough to pre-order as well. Can’t see that having any impact on the Rift’s success. Nope. None. Never.

Joe Parlock