Oculus Closing 200 Best Buy Rift Demo Stations

Contractor says 'store performance,' Oculus says 'seasonal changes.'

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Oculus is going to be scaling back its Best Buy in-store retail presence of the Rift in the coming weeks, citing "season changes." A Best Buy contractor memo, however said it is related to "store performance."

The virtual reality company confirmed that it will be shutting down 200 of its 500 Best Buy demo stations across the United States, but they will continue to sell the Rift headsets and Touch controllers.

“We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets," Oculus spokesperson Andrea Schubert told Business Insider. "You can still request Rift demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the US and Canada. We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo. We’re going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year.”

However, several Oculus "ambassadors" who show the units in store told Business Insider that sometimes they would go days without doing demos, with that number increasing after the Christmas rush. Others cited firmware bugs that render some sets inoperable. One contractor sent a memo to his employees saying the closings were because of "store performance," Business Insider said.

Oculus started its retail push at Best Buy with 48 stores in May, but by August, that number had jumped to 500.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 9, 2017 8:10 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Oculus Closing 200 Best Buy Rift Demo Stations

    • reply
      February 9, 2017 8:35 AM

      Not super surprised. The one at my local Best Buy was so poorly managed that it seemed pointless. It was next to the movies section instead of where games or PCs were at, and you had to grab an employee to get the controllers if you wanted to try it.

      • reply
        February 9, 2017 8:44 AM

        Yeah, the couple times I went buy it there was no obvious way to get a demo at all.

        Luckily I already have an oculus and touch, but it kinda bummed me out that they did it so poorly.

        the same shop, by comparison, was actively pushing PSVR before it came out; it's where I demoed that.

    • reply
      February 9, 2017 8:40 AM

      zoloint posted a new article, Oculus Adds Refurbished Section To Its Online Store. Limited Quantities Available

    • reply
      February 9, 2017 8:46 AM

      Putting my face in a headset that any joe public could have used five minutes ago always seemed gross AF

      • reply
        February 9, 2017 9:21 AM

        The Microsoft store manages the Vive demos really well. They scrub down the unit after each tech demo.

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      February 9, 2017 8:52 AM

      To me, "demo VR headset" is synonymous with "invitation to pink eye"