Best Buy is pulling Oculus demo stations

    
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So, probably not.

The best hope for VR headsets to move units is indisputably in the field of demonstrations. That’s really always been the hope that the technology has relied upon, that if you can get people to try out the technology they’ll want to buy it. Unfortunately for Oculus, it appears that demo stations haven’t been enough, as Best Buy locations are reportedly packing up and removing 200 of its 500 Oculus demo stations. Business Insider reports that this comes after several of the stations went days with no one even trying the station.

Obviously, this comes in the midst of a bad year for the VR headset outfit, following a number of other issues including a recent loss in court against Bethesda. The official statement from Oculus is that this is due to “seasonal changes,” but that seems like a rather transparent bit of damage control under the circumstances. Sales of the unit apparently tapered off sharply after the holidays, so it remains to be seen if the remaining demo stations might start moving enough units to justify their presence.

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Scrungle

That’s funny because my best buy doesnt have one and I wish they did….

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

I’m not surprised. There’s been a few issues with this IMO:

1. The Best Buys I’ve gone to either had the Rift demo person out to launch or kept using the damn thing so they couldn’t even interact with people checking it out.

2. Having to have someone help you demo it. I have to deal with someone stooping over me telling me what I to do when I cover games. In my personal time I would NEVER be OK with this, especially as an adult gamer.

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Doctor Sweers

Bummer…but I rarely shop at Best Buy anymore. The customer experience in most of their stores is pretty weak. If you have a Microsoft store in your town, go there for your VR Demo Experience. VR is pretty incredible. Is it a fad? Maybe. I hope not, though, as I believe there is space in the gaming (educational, business, etc) industry for VR. Check out Warthunder with a VR headset. It’s the tits:)

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rafael12104

Hmm. Now, I don’t read Business Insider so I have to ask. Do they always use Best Buy as a litmus test? Lol!

VR is what it is. It may catch on, it may not. It may be a slow climb or burn. But just because people don’t care to use these demos stations doesn’t mean much. It may simply mean that there is less traffic in the stores. Or maybe, just maybe, there are few that want to dawn that head gear at an unattended station.

If they want to make it work, they need to do what Bose did a few years ago and reserve a demo room which is run and demo’ed by trained employees. I bet if they do that, and announce the demo store wide etc. people will line up to see VR just like they did the Bose home entertainment systems.

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Arktouros

That’s actually what they did. There were actually demoed by trained employees and people had to setup appointments to try them out. One of the issues was the people doing the demos varied location to location apparently and could be pretty lackluster for some and amazing for others.

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Kickstarter Donor
Kayweg

Just the same old viscious circle new technologies face.
VR needs lots of quality games to have a chance of becoming mainstream.
And game makers won’t invest into such games before VR becomes mainstream.
Sometimes that circle is broken and it all works out…but sometimes it isn’t.
Perhaps VR’s best shot is to become a factor in other fields of application first, like medicine and science.
And then, from that bridge head, spill over into gaming at a later stage.

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Schmidt.Capela

I will look into VR the day I can just add some peripherals costing at most $100 to what I already own and have a good VR experience.

Otherwise, no, thanks. I spent enough time working with VR that I doubt anything less than a Holodeck or a Matrix interface can impress me anymore. Besides, most of the games I enjoy wouldn’t work well in first-person view, and thus wouldn’t really work in VR.

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nevyn

That sound you can hear? thats the sound of a bubble bursting against the backdrop of the still burning wreckage of the hype train…..

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Flying Buddha

I looked at options again over the holidays. They’re too f*cking expensive for the content that’s out there – just Elite Dangerous and a bunch of what amounts to tech demos. We’re not struggling by any means, I do consider myself a video game enthusiast with two sons old enough to have fun with VR and a very tolerant, sometimes participatory wife. I was very excited for the onset of this wave of VR, but it’s a grand to get in no matter which way I cut it. Just too damn much.

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Utakata

The proprietors as busy suing each other while Rome burns I see. o.O

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Sally Bowls

BTW, Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, is launching a new virtual reality company called Modal VR. Good VR in an arcade like setting might be a better “gateway drug” than Best Buy to get people interested in VR.

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Hirku

I agree about the arcade setting. Also, I truly love that man. My happy childhood was thanks to him…except for the pizza, that was garbage.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

This has really been something I’ve wondered about- why haven’t VR arcades become a thing?