Sources blame lens yield for Oculus Rift delays

April 22, 2016 // 8:29 a.m.

Tags: #headset #htc-vive #rumour #vr #yield

The ongoing component shortage issues experienced by Facebook's Oculus VR, and the knock-on effect it is having on pre-order customers for its Oculus Rift headset, may be down to its lense.

The Oculus Rift commercial launch has been beset by surprising problems, given the company's previous experience with - admittedly smaller-scale - manufacturing and fulfilment and the not-inconsiderable financial backing of owner Facebook. Its customers have now been warned that shortages of unspecified components mean a two-month delay in shipping of the virtual reality headset, even as rival HTC prepares to put its Vive headset in bricks and mortar retail outlets.

With little information coming from Oculus VR itself, customers and pundits have been quick to blame Microsoft for the delay: the company provides the Xbox One controller bundled with every headset, and conspiracy theorists have been quick to suggest it may be nobbling Oculus VR's chances ahead of launching either its augmented reality HoloLens or an Xbox-flavoured equivalent to Sony's upcoming PlayStation VR. Microsoft has publicly denied that it is to blame for the shortages, though, and rumour-mill DigiTimes - whose reports must always be taken with a pinch of salt, it's true - believes it has a more convincing explanation: a shortage of lenses.

The Oculus Rift, like all VR headsets, uses a pair of lenses to cleverly distort and magnify the image from the flat display panel in order to have it appear convincingly immersive to the eye. It uses custom-ground Fresnel lenses for this, and the site's sources claim that its manufacturer has been experiencing lower than expected yields - leading to the component shortages of which the company has been complaining.

Oculus VR has not publicly commented on the report, but continues to reassure customers that it is working as hard as possible to resolve the issues and speed up fulfilment.
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