After much anticipation, buyers are finally able to pre-order the long-awaited Oculus Rift virtual reality headset from Facebook. The device is expected to be shipped to stores on March 28. However, it’s unlikely that the innovative new headsets will fly off of store shelves when it is available for sale in April.
While some people are predicting that the headset will bring about a new era of virtual reality computing, investors on Wall Street don’t expect magic to happen overnight. In fact, most market analysts believe that the transition to virtual reality headsets will happen very slowly.
Few experts believe that sales for the Oculus Rift will exceed one million in 2016. Many have said that Facebook would be lucky to reach half that amount this year. With sale figures that low, Facebook will likely experience losses in profit from the long-awaited project. Instead, the company is probably going to be left waiting for virtual reality technology to fully catch on. Many analysts have even stated that the device is not a very big deal for Facebook at this time.
However, this is not very concerning to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The billionaire has made many comparisons between virtual reality technology and smartphones. When smartphones were originally introduced, sales were extremely lackluster. But over time, they caught on and became massively popular. Zuckerberg believes a similar situation will take place with virtual reality devices.
A major problem with the device is that the vast majority of current computers do not have the graphic capabilities to support the headset. Many customers will be forced to upgrade their computers before using the device. This can cost hundreds of dollars. Thus, it might be a few more years before virtual reality technology really becomes the norm.
The Oculus Rift will sell at a retail price of $599. Facebook has stated that it will send out its initial shipment on March 28. The device will include two complementary virtual reality games, and it should be available for purchase by general consumers sometime in April.