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Component shortages halt Oculus Rift production

Component shortages halt Oculus Rift production

Production of the Oculus Rift Developer Kit hardware is being halted due to component shortages, with no timescale provided for its resumption.

Oculus Rift developer kits are likely to appreciate in value significantly in the coming months, as the company has warned that component shortages mean that production has been halted.

The crowdfunded virtual reality headset has enjoyed considerable success since it was first unveiled, using $75 million in private funding to produce an improved model dubbed Crystal Cove with better head tracking and a higher resolution. Crystal Cove isn't commercially available, however, leaving users who want to get started early opting instead to buy the $400 Oculus Rift Developer Kit with its lower-resolution displays.

Those kits are going to be difficult to find, however, with the news that the company is halting production. 'Certain components used in the Oculus Rift developer kit are no longer being manufactured, meaning they are no longer available to us for production,' the company told its customers in a status update. 'As a result, we don't have the necessary materials to produce additional kits. We still have some stock available, but we're quickly running out. We are looking into alternate sources for the needed components, and we don't yet have a timeline for when additional units will be available. We'll be sure to keep everyone posted.'

The shortage means that plans to offer the developer kits to further countries - beyond North America, the EU, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland and Norway - are being scrapped until additional components can be sourced. 'We never expected to sell so many development kits and VR only made this much progress with the community's support and enthusiasm,' the company added. 'Even though we never wanted to sell out, it's a good problem to have'

The shortages will likely lead to a significant increase in the second-hand value of existing Oculus Rift Developer Kits.

16 Comments

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Cthippo 24th February 2014, 11:42 Quote
Short on small screens, I presume?
rollo 24th February 2014, 11:48 Quote
Will Occulus rift ever leave development and actually be a commercial product. Does not appear to be happening this year.

Second hand sales will probably take the price north of $400 I'd imagine.
Gareth Halfacree 24th February 2014, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Short on small screens, I presume?
They haven't said, but that's what they were running out of a while back: since mobiles moved to higher-resolution panels, low-resolution panels have been harder to source. It'd be my best-guess for what they've run out of, yes - and they may end up just ditching the original design and holding out for Crystal Cove instead, providing they've got enough dev kits to provide to actual developers (rather than anyone waving $400 at 'em.)
Cthippo 24th February 2014, 11:55 Quote
Wonder how many they would have to commit to buy in order for someone to produce the screens they need. Of course, since this isn't intended to be the actual commercial product, I guess they won't be ordering tend of thousands of the low res parts. Still, bad timi9ng, hope they can overcome it.
edzieba 24th February 2014, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Short on small screens, I presume?
Probably. The reason the DK1 switched from the 5.6" panel used for the prototypes to a 7" panel was that there were not enough of the 5.6" panels in existence to produce enough devkits to fulfill the kickstarter orders.
The mobile hardware lifecycle is brutally short, usually around 6 months from start of production to end of production and selloff of excess stock. If you don't get your order in at production time, then you're relying on there being sufficient excess. At the size Oculus were when they chose the 7" panel, they were an order of magnitude or two away from being big enough to actually get the time of day from manufacturers and order a new production panel (along with other issues like everyone building MIPI DSI panels instead of LVDS for mobile devices).
Now they can probably assume at least 100,000 units for the DK2 and CV release, and have a massive tide of press and expectation to bank on for future releases, so they can place a small order for the desired panel in advance of production and actually get it once the main buyers (Samsung, Apple, etc, big tablet and phone manufacturers that order millions or tens of millions of units) get their orders fulfilled.
Assuming the DK2 and CV are announced significantly prior to shipping (i.e. when the hardware is finalised) I would bet that the panel it ships with will be one that has just started shipping in a phone/tablet at around the same time as the announcement.

Speculation ahoy!
With the Crystal Cove prototype using OLED for it's fast switching time, I'm guessing one of Samsung's AMOLED panels will be used in the DK2 & CV. The Crystal Cove used a Pentile arrangement (because that is what is available), but because a HMD doesn't have the lumen output requirements of a phone or tablet a proper RGB-stripe layout is vastly preferable. Look out for Samsung releasing a phone or tablet with an AMOLED panel in the 5.6"-6" range and an RGB-stripe subpixel layout, because there's a pretty good chance that'll be the Oculus panel.
Nexxo 24th February 2014, 21:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo
Will Occulus rift ever leave development and actually be a commercial product. Does not appear to be happening this year.

Second hand sales will probably take the price north of $400 I'd imagine.

Yeah, and I'd be buying...
Cei 24th February 2014, 21:34 Quote
They need to stop releasing vapourware. Rift is becoming synonymous with "dev kit", and every trade show seems to have yet another revision that is no closer to a consumer launch. They're rolling in funding, so what exactly is the holdup? If they keep messing about like this, they'll start losing support and hype.
specofdust 24th February 2014, 21:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
Yeah, and I'd be buying...

You and everyone else with enough money to get one and upgrade their PC.

Unlike 3D, I'm thinking VR is going to be huge.
Cthippo 24th February 2014, 23:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cei
They need to stop releasing vapourware. Rift is becoming synonymous with "dev kit", and every trade show seems to have yet another revision that is no closer to a consumer launch. They're rolling in funding, so what exactly is the holdup? If they keep messing about like this, they'll start losing support and hype.


By the sound of it they're waiting on developer support and parts, both of which are out of their control. They've demonstrated proof of concept, but until games are coded to take advantage of the headset as both an input (sensing head position) and as a display then it's largely a non starter.

Likewise, if they can't get the parts to build the headsets, then it's not happening. As others have said, they're not placing big enough orders (yet) to get a manufacturer to build a production run just for them, and currently no one builds the screens they need.

All that said, I think this is well beyond "vaporware" and hopefully the company has enough resources to hold on until the developers get on board and they are able to start placing production sized orders with their vendors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The pig above me
Unlike 3D, I'm thinking VR is going to be huge.

There is absolutly no reason that this VR implementation shouldn't include 3D by default. The hardware is there, it's just a matter of the programming and computational grunt to take advantage of it.

Oh, and missed seeing you around, Spec.
specofdust 25th February 2014, 00:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
There is absolutly no reazon that this VR implementation shouldn't include 3D by default. The hardware is there, it's just a matter of the programming and computational grunt to take advantage of it.

Oh, and missed seeing you around, Spec.


There is one good reason, and that's graphics power. From what I understand, the rift already requires you to be at about a minimum of 90 fps to have a smooth stereoscopic experience. How many graphics cards do you know that can do two screens of 90 fps at 1920x1080 in modern games? 3D, as I understand it, requires even more power, and so unless we all want to start running quad Titans, then I reckon 3D remains on the backburner for the first while.

edit: Also, you too :)
sandys 25th February 2014, 01:21 Quote
The rift only has one screen and would do 960x1080 per eye if it was 1080p plenty of setups could run that in 3D, depending on game you may only need 1 beefy card. The screen it launched with was 1280x800 (640×800 per eye) , plenty of systems could monster that in 3D.
SAimNE 25th February 2014, 13:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
There is one good reason, and that's graphics power. From what I understand, the rift already requires you to be at about a minimum of 90 fps to have a smooth stereoscopic experience. How many graphics cards do you know that can do two screens of 90 fps at 1920x1080 in modern games? 3D, as I understand it, requires even more power, and so unless we all want to start running quad Titans, then I reckon 3D remains on the backburner for the first while.

edit: Also, you too :)

actually i'm pretty most cards with a mid-high end graphics card could handle occulus rifts 3d. it's not like it's running at a high resolution, it's 1080x960 per eye which is just a standard 1080p screen, so the resolution is never going to be the bottleneck. not sure about the 90fps thing, but if you didnt push the new games into ultra you could be able to get reasonably close results in new games with just an r9 290.

tho hopefully the rift will use a resolution even higher than 1080. thinking 1440 would be nice.... 1600+=godly
Nexxo 25th February 2014, 16:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by specofdust
There is one good reason, and that's graphics power. From what I understand, the rift already requires you to be at about a minimum of 90 fps to have a smooth stereoscopic experience. How many graphics cards do you know that can do two screens of 90 fps at 1920x1080 in modern games? 3D, as I understand it, requires even more power, and so unless we all want to start running quad Titans, then I reckon 3D remains on the backburner for the first while.

edit: Also, you too :)

You make it sound like running quad Titans is a bad thing. :p

Legend of Zelda on Occulus Rift: SO WANT.

6gzXHUyfdyM



BTW don't they have internet access on oil rigs?
specofdust 25th February 2014, 20:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo
You make it sound like running quad Titans is a bad thing. :p

And here we have a man who's wife pays the electricity bill....

Quote:
BTW don't they have internet access on oil rigs?

They do indeed, but they also make me do work out there for some reason. I'd give oil rigs 2 stars at most, the food's OK but the swimming pool is nowhere to be found and there aren't any women on them.
Nexxo 25th February 2014, 22:17 Quote
Outrageous! That's almost as bad as the NHS (except that the food is worse. On the upside, there's plenty of women, but they're all too tired and so am I)!
Bindibadgi 26th February 2014, 01:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Short on small screens, I presume?

More than likely. When you're competing against the buying power of smartphone makers, you're pretty far down the pecking order.
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