Were you to judge success by the response of “The Internet” when Facebook acquired nascent virtual reality hardware company Oculus Rift, developers didn’t like the deal. But were you to judge success by its actual sales, it may be a different story.
Oculus Rift tells TechCrunch that it’s sold about 25,000 second-generation “DK2” development kits to developers since the pre-order page went live March 19. It says it sold about 60,000 first-generation “DK1” units over the lifetime of that kit.
“We never expected to sell so many development kits,” wrote a Oculus Rift community manager last month after a component shortage forced the company to halt sales of the DK1.
Sales of the DK2 appear to be outpacing this predecessor, and with the backing of Facebook — a social network giant with deep technology resources but little experience scaling a hardware company — the expectation is that the company will be better-positioned for developer sales success.
It’s hard to contextualize the sales of developer-only hardware, which is a technology development and distribution model not emulated by Oculus Rift’s closest presumed competitors. The company, mostly silent since its acquisition by Facebook, wouldn’t offer comment.
Were it to comment, a spokesperson would expectedly just echo the sober agreement between the company and developers who purchased its DK2 (the author included): that the current hardware is just a “preview” meant for developers only and “not a consumer product.”
There are presumably higher expectations for a consumer release. Microsoft and Sony said sales of the XBOX One and PS4 devices reached approximately 3 million and 4 million, respectively, last year.
Oculus Rift is perhaps rightfully careful not to overhype. It slipped on its first expected shipment dates for some DK1 customers that backed the project with $2.4 million on Kickstarter. Oculus Rift promises to ship the DK2 in July.