While Oculus has become synonymous with the modern rebirth of high-end virtual reality, the Facebook-owned company has had a difficult start to 2017.
Sales of the consumer Rift headset have reportedly been low, company co-founder Palmer Luckey was accused of funding a Republican Reddit-based hate group, and most significantly, parent company Facebook was ordered to pay $500 million to video game publisher Zenimax, following a court ruling surrounding an intellectual property dispute.
Now Best Buy, Oculus’ most significant in-store retailer in the U.S. and Canada, is pulling hundreds of demo stations from its sales floors, according to a report from Business Insider. Unnamed Best Buy employees interviewed by the publication state that the retailer removed the demo stations due to poor “store performance.” Oculus, meanwhile, says that this shift is due to “seasonal changes,” and that the company is “prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets.”
While this move is far from apocalyptic for Oculus, especially because Facebook has made it clear it believes virtual reality is the future of the company, it further exemplifies the fact that high-end VR still has a long way to go before it reaches mainstream popularity.
Back in 2014 Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion as tech giants like Sony and HTC moved rapidly to beat the company to the punch with their own respective virtual reality headsets, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive.
It’s still unclear exactly how many units the Oculus Rift has shipped since its initial launch, but analytics firm Superdata indicates the company sold approximately 355,088 units by the end of 2016.
By comparison, Superdata states that PlayStation VR sold 2,602,307 and that the HTC Vive sold 420,108 units, by the end of 2016.
Source: Business Insider