Oculus Rift “pop-ups” demonstrating the VR headset are shutting down in the hundreds after a lack of public interest has left some of them empty for days at a time.
Nearly half of in-store demonstrations at Best Buy of the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift are being axed because of “store performance,” according to an internal memo from a third-party contractor. Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert, however, chalked the dramatic cuts up to “seasonal changes.”
But even during the height of the holiday season, Best Buy’s designated “Oculus Ambassadors” counted themselves lucky to sell a few units during a week of the otherwise bustling shopping season. Several Best Buy pop-up employees told Business Insider that “it was common for them to go days without giving a single demonstration.”
Nevertheless, Schubert said that Oculus “still [believes] the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo” and asserted that the company is looking for “opportunities to do regular events and pop-ups” in both retail locations and within communities.
According to Best Buy, the lack of demo stations won’t stop them from selling the Rift or its peripherals. It was a much more reserved statement than CEO Hubert Joly’s original pitch last year of a “cool and fun” experience with the potential to contribute to Best Buy’s growth as a whole.
It sounds like Zuckerberg’s prediction that Oculus “won’t be profitable for a while” is ringing all too true. This is, of course, in addition to the half-billion they’ll be forced to pay Zenimax for the technology’s development as the result of a hard-fought legal battle.
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