The second generation of the Oculus Rift VR headset will begin landing on developers’ doorsteps in a matter of days, but anyone who forgot to place a preorder is going to have a hard time finding the virtual reality gadget anywhere, including eBay. It seems Oculus isn’t particularly fond of the time-honored tradition of flipping hot new gadgets on auction sites for massive personal profits, and it’s going so far as to cancel the preorders of anyone it suspects to be a reseller.
The newest Rift development kits can be preordered for $350, but the wait time at this point is quite long. Of the nearly 50,000 kits already ordered, only 10,000 of those are expected to be filled by the end of July. On eBay, pre-orders for the latest Rift have been listed for as much as $5,000.
Once Oculus caught wind of auction site orders, the company responded on its official developer forums, stating that it was sniffing out the orders linked to the eBay listings and cancelling them accordingly. The company hasn’t fully explained how it is going about determining which preorders are associated with the respective eBay listing, only noting that it is using tools at its disposal “to make sure that there isn’t a false positive.”
Massive markup aside, Oculus would have a hard time explaining its new cancellation policy if not for the fact that the kit is, after all, intended for developers only. It’s not a consumer device and even if someone who isn’t a developer were to obtain one, there isn’t much he or she could even do with it yet.
If there’s one thing that may come back to haunt Oculus on this, it’s that the company doesn’t exactly do anything to verify that it is selling kits to developers in the first place. You simply have to check a box on the order form verifying that you understand the Rift is currently for developers only.
There’s already a bit of nervousness on the Oculus forums, with developers worried that their preorders may get cancelled out of error. If that does indeed happen, the company could face its second controversy, so there’s a good chance that this saga isn’t over yet.