Six months after the highly anticipated launch of its virtual-reality goggles, Facebook Inc.’s Oculus unit is facing a reality check.
Oculus, reuniting its developers this week for the first time since the launch of the Rift goggles, is coping with competition from HTC Corp. and Sony Corp., and a string of disappointing gaffes. Shipping problems and a higher-than-expected price bungled the launch. The headset still doesn’t have a hit game that would broaden its appeal to mainstream consumers.
In recent weeks, anger at founder Palmer Luckey for his political views has caused backlash from the developers Oculus relies on to make games and other attractions for the Rift. Those hiccups cost Oculus about 5,000 units in lost sales last month, estimates Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Now Oculus is trying to reignite enthusiasm for its headset. At its developers conference in San Jose, Calif., Oculus is expected to introduce its Touch hand controllers for grabbing and moving virtual objects, a feature that HTC’s Vive headset bundled with its launch. Several breakout sessions focus on making virtual-reality games and content more compelling and comfortable.