The age of virtual reality gaming feels like it’s just around the corner, but it looks like many Chinese developers are going to have to wait longer than they expected to get their hands on VR’s shiniest toy: the second dev kit for the Oculus Rift. Oculus has removed China completely from its Dev Kit 2 (DK2) preorder page, meaning that devs from China wishing to preorder the headset are no longer able to do so.
Additionally, Oculus has canceled a number of earlier preorders placed by Chinese customers for the DK2. In a reddit post made by a Chinese user complaining about his canceled order, an Oculus customer service representative explained:
Yes, it is a bummer that we’ve had to suspend sales in China due to extreme reseller purchases. We need to make sure that we are doing what we can to make sure that resellers that are looking to flip our product for a profit are not taking stock away from legitimate developer purchases globally. Our product, in its current form, is a developer kit, meant for developers that develop VR content. We are looking into alternative ways to make sure that our development kits are getting into legitimate developer hands in China.
Resellers buying up hot electonic devices and then flipping them for profit is a problem that many consumer electronics companies have had to confront in China. Apple, for example, has gone to great lengths to try to weed iPhone scalpers and re-sellers out of the equation when new models launch, with only limited success. Oculus, of course, doesn’t even offer a commercial product yet, but that hasn’t stopped some enterprising Chinese merchants from buying the devices and flipping them for profit on sites like Taobao.
Given that supplies of the Rift dev kit are limited, it is understandable that Oculus wants to try to ensure they’re headed into the hands of actual developers who’ll create content for them rather than Taobao shop owners. But, as usual, it seems like China’s legitimate enthusiasts and developers have been caught in the crossfire.
According to Oculus, the move is not permanent, although there’s no timetable for when Chinese developers might be allowed back in on the action:
We are looking into an alternative sales process. I don’t have any timeline, but we have made it a priority. We love our developers!