One of the most anticipated virtual reality headsets hits select Best Buy stores this Saturday, but good luck getting your hands on one.
Best Buy will have “very limited quantities” of the $599 Oculus Rift available for sale at 48 stores around the country where it has Intel Experience shop-in-shops that show off other cutting edge techology. When pressed for more details about what exactly "very limited means," a Best Buy spokeswoman said she couldn't share more specifics.
While many experts see a huge potential with virtual reality, many consumers who are not big gamers are still wondering why they should be interested in it. So in order to help drum up more interest, Best Buy and Oculus, which is part of the Facebook empire, are also offering an opportunity for consumers to check it out in person so they can see it for themselves. Best Buy is also hosting free in-store demos starting Saturday at those 48 stores. But many of those time slots are going fast.
At the Mall of America location, the only Best Buy store in Minnesota that will have the Oculus Rift for sale, in-store demos are booked up for nearly two weeks. The first available time slots are on May 19 (and there were only 2 left this morning). Walk-ins will also get a chance to get a demo, though there are no guarantees if you don't have an appointment in advance.
The in-store demos will continue throughout the year and are expected to roll out to more Best Buy locations this summer.
The Oculus Rift will also be available for sale online Friday morning from Microsoft.com and Amazon.com. The availability of the headsets through these outlets has created some buzz in the techie world because many people who have preordered them are still waiting to get theirs. Oculus has run into a parts shortage that has delayed many preorders.
So Oculus is telling customers that if they buy a Rift this weekend from Best Buy, Amazon, or Microsoft, they can cancel their preorder.
Best Buy also sells the Samsung Gear VR, another virtual reality headset, in its stores.
The virtual reality world is still in its infancy. The Oculus Rift, which received a lot of attention at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, is expected to help make the technology more mainstream.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, about 1.2 million virtual reality headsets are expected to be sold this year, a 500 percent increase from last year.