Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the Oculus Rift's commercial debut, and now Business Insider reports diminishing demand for the hardware at retail stores is driving Facebook to shut down 40 percent of its demo stations in Best Buy stores.
This is notable for two reasons: first, many VR game makers believe it's impossible (or at least very hard) for people to understand the appeal of VR without trying it, and retail demo stations are an easy way to do so.
Second, when Oculus announced last May that it was putting Rift demo stations in Best Buys throughout the country, some Rift supporters publicly complained that it was a poor allocation of resources at a time when the company was having a hard time fulfilling preorders.
But with the holiday season come and gone, it appears that many of these retail kiosks aren't being used (BI reports that some contractors operating the demo units would go "days without giving a single demonstration") and so roughly 200 of the 500 in Best Buys around the country will be closed.
"We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets," an Oculus representative told BI. "We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo. We’re going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year.”