Getting your hands on an Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset just got a bit more difficult: Facebook-owned Oculus notified some of its customers via email in the past couple of days that their orders were being delayed due to an “unexpected component shortage.” Road to VR was first to report on the shortage this weekend.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe acknowledged the issue on Twitter, stating that the first batch of headsets was getting sent out slower than originally estimated. To make up for these delays, Oculus is waving shipping charges for customers who pre-ordered their headsets on or before April 1. That’s not an insignificant discount: Some customers report that their shipping charges for international orders were up to $120.
Supply chain issues aren’t uncommon for newly introduced devices, especially if they’re based on a lot of custom components. Consumer electronics repair website Ifixit took apart the latest version of the Rift for one of its “teardown” reports last week, revealing that the device was based on two separate 3.5 inch displays, both offering a 456 ppi pixel density.
A previous pre-release version of the Rift, which was made available only to developers, instead repurposed a single smart phone screen as a display. However, it’s unclear whether the new displays are what’s causing the delays. An Oculus spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.
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Even without the shortage, Oculus was expected to catch up with consumer demand only over time. Anyone ordering a headset right now likely won’t get it before July. These delays could potentially benefit HTC, whose HTC Vive VR headset is going to start shipping to consumers this week.