200 Best Buy stores won’t offer Oculus VR demos
SAN FRANCISCO — Your chance to demo Facebook’s Oculus Rift virtual reality goggle at a Best Buy store just got cut in half.
Facebook is pulling its pop-up demo stations in 200 of its 500 Best Buy locations; Best Buy has around 1,400 stores nationwide.
The social networking company, which bought Oculus in 2014 for $3 billion, said the move was out of a desire to focus on larger markets and not, as a report on Business Insider suggested, due to slow traffic.
“We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets,” Oculus spokesperson Andrea Shubert said in a statement.
“We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo,” she said. “We’re going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year.”
In its report, Business Insider anonymously quoted a Best Buy employee in Texas as saying that “there’d be some days where I wouldn’t give a demo at all because people didn’t want to.”
Oculus demos debuted in 48 Best Buy stores last May, before then rolling out more broadly across the country. Between that May debut and November, Best Buy logged 300,000 demos, according to a comment made by CEO Hubert Joly during the company’s third-quarter earnings report call.
“We’re always testing, trying and changing things in our stores to give our customers the best opportunity to experience and shop for technology,” said Best Buy spokesperson Carly Charlson, adding that although 200 stores will be losing their demos, all locations will continue to sell the $600 VR headset as well as the new $200 Oculus handheld touch controllers.
Although Oculus Rift, which was created by Palmer Luckey in 2012, was the first VR goggle to capture the public’s imagination, a combination of new contenders (Sony PlayStationVR, HTC Vive) and slow roll out of content beyond gaming have prevented the pricey category from catching fire with consumers.
Other companies such as Google and Samsung, with their Daydream and Gear VR headsets respectively, have placed their bets on virtual and augmented reality being better suited to smartphone use, which may offer a lower-resolution experience but trades on a gadget that most people already have in their pockets.
A Texas jury recently decided that Facebook had to pay gaming company ZeniMax $500,000 after ZeniMax lawyers successfully argued that Luckey had violated the terms of a non-disclosure agreement while he was working with ZeniMax VR expert John Carmack on early versions of his goggles.
Source by usatoday…