Oculus’ Best Buy rollout is the latest step in what’s been, to put it mildly, a rough product launch. The Rift was heavily back ordered when units started shipping at the end of March, and a parts shortage has dramatically delayed many early orders. Computer manufacturers were still able to offer Rifts bundled with gaming PCs, and some customers have already gotten Rifts sooner by ordering them, but that usually involves spending an extra $1,000 or more on top of the Rift’s $599 price tag.
Things are a little simpler for anyone who just wants to try out the Rift, but there’s still likely a bit of a wait. Oculus will let potential visitors search for nearby participating locations online, where they can schedule demos up to a month in advance. They’ll get to see a couple of the Rift’s most polished productions: a reel of short Oculus-produced experiences called Dreamdeck, and Crytek’s recently released rock-climbing game The Climb. Oculus is planning to open things up a little more this summer, when it will start bringing the Rift to more locations, including stores in Canada and Europe.
This isn’t the first time Oculus has showcased virtual reality in retail stores: people have been able to try out the mobile Gear VR for some time at Best Buy. But the high-end Oculus Rift is far less accessible and far more hyped — and with the current shipping situation, an in-store demo might be the closest most people will get for months.