Update, 4/14/2016, 4:35 p.m PDT: Oculus released a statement regarding the shipping delays.
"The component shortage impacted our quantities more than we expected, and we've updated the shipment windows to reflect these changes. We apologize for the delay.
We're delivering Rifts to customers every day, and we're focused on getting Rifts out of the door as fast as we can. We've taken steps to address the component shortage, and we'll continue shipping in higher volumes each week. We've also increased our manufacturing capacity to allow us to deliver in higher quantities, faster. Many Rifts will ship less than four weeks from original estimates, and we hope to beat the new estimates we've provided."
The shipping troubles continue for Oculus and HTC as both companies seem to struggle with getting their VR HMDs to customers. Delayed shipping dates, or even the lack of a shipping confirmation for some of the earliest orders, are angering what should have been the first customers to receive the Rift or Vive.
A Two-Month Delay
Nearly two weeks ago, Oculus announced that customers would get new shipping estimates for their Rift orders due to “an unexpected component shortage,” and the updated information would arrive as early as April 12. However, the new shipping date was pushed back further than expected.
When I pre-ordered the Rift, the initial shipping date was set for May. With the component shortage issue, the updated shipping estimate meant that I would get my Rift anywhere between July 1-14, two full months later than expected.
Oculus tweeted that it was “addressing the component shortage and shipping Rifts as fast as we can,” and company founder Palmer Luckey backed up the statement in a response to another user on Twitter.
Where’s My Vive?
As for the HTC Vive, the main problem is with HTC’s “first in, first out” Vive order policy. Some customers, including some of our readers, placed orders in the first few minutes after the pre-order sales started. However, they have yet to receive any shipping details. Meanwhile, other customers, who placed orders later, were already getting their Vive shipments in the mail.
If you look at the Twitter account of HTC Vive head Daniel O’Brien, you’ll see his numerous interactions with other Vive customers with the same issue.
“Try to remember we are fulfilling in order by region,” he tweeted. “Adjustments made to ensure order [numbers are] checked and verified.”
Even with that assurance, there wasn’t a clear explanation as to why early customers were still waiting on their Vive orders. However, O’Brien did make a promise that all April pre-orders will arrive in that same month. He even went so far as to say that this week would be a “good week globally for our Vive customers.” One user replied that the fulfillment for all April pre-orders seemed impossible, to which O’Brien tweeted back, “Challenge accepted.”
At this point, it’s simply a matter of waiting. We won’t know for quite some time if HTC does deliver (no pun intended) on its promise to ship all of its April pre-orders by the end of the month. Even if it does, most customers will still be angry that their early pre-orders didn’t mean anything, especially with the company’s “first in, first out” shipping policy.
Even then, at least Vive customers don’t have to deal with any component shortages. Those who pre-ordered a Rift will have to wait an additional two months to get their Rift HMD. Either way, these developments are the latest indication that the launch of the two biggest VR companies aren’t going according to plan.