5 Ways the Oculus Shipping Delays are a Blessing

VR Startups, if you are following the Oculus shipping delay saga this weekend and you are sweating bullets, I have good news for you.

These shipping delays are a blessing.

When I saw the outrage start to ignite on Reddit, I reached out to other VCs and investors to get some insight. The general consensus is that the shipping delays and bad reviews probably set the entire VR movement back 3-6 months in terms of sales, development, and funding.


Ouch. Sounds like a disaster.

But here are five good things about the bad reviews:

1. If you are a bootstrapped VR startup you just scored

All of the VC-backed VR startups will need to adjust their roadmaps by roughly 3-6 months. That’s right, funded VR startups just lost 3-6 months in burn. That means they may need to raise more money, which can be a distraction or worse, and they are on an even faster train to becoming a for-hire VR agency.

This is beautiful news if you are bootstrapped. You suddenly picked up 3-6 months on the competition. That is roughly a 25% time gain on your arch nemesis competitor. High fives, people!

2. The added pressure on Oculus helps the industry

Pressure on Oculus is a good thing. Shipping delays compound the terrible idea to ship without touch controllers. Shipping headsets without touch controllers is like selling Teslas without gas pedals. You better believe those controllers will be shipped faster now that the Oculus brand has stumbled a bit.

Similarly, Oculus will feel immense pressure to give an extra hand to its best developers. I’m guessing you’ll see lots of extra free promotion and development resources. Facebook stock is hitting record highs. It can afford to subsidize Oculus partners an extra few months. Drinks on Oculus.

3. Time to build some new use cases

We all love VR but on the DL, we can all agree we need to figure some details out. It’s messy. We need some real actual use cases for this ecosystem to sustainably grow. Games are fun and cool, but the world is waiting to see what VR can do besides first person shooters and float in space. We just bought 3-6 months more time to figure out the second life problem.

4. Time to smooth out the message for consumers

Have you noticed there are no consumers yet in this space? When we have been extolling the greatness of VR, it’s always among the industry believers. What happens when you talk about Unreal Engine and frames per second with your Mom? They don’t get it, and they don’t want to get it.

We need some more time to learn how to take our VR message and craft it in a way that muggles understand. At the moment, I’m purposely talking VR with all of my Facebook and Snapchat friends who have nothing to do with this industry. I want to learn how to sell this in a way that people understand.

5. Gets the FAKERS out of the game

Face it. The VR frenzy is getting absurd. Everybody thinks they are a VR expert these days.  Everybody and their cousin suddenly has a cool idea for a VR app. I think I’m getting pitched VR music visualizers a couple times a day at this point.

When the wannabes leave there are more resources for the real teams. More access to capital, promotion, events, and even hardware is a good thing.

So long fakers, see you in an AltSpaceVR lounge sometime.

Look, we all hate delays and were forced to see the bad Oculus reviews. Multiple family members even emailed me some of the really bad reviews, making the entire week a little embarrassing. It gets harder to say virtual reality is the future when you don’t ship on time, and suddenly the WSJ and NY Times are calling Oculus “not ready” and “clunky.”

But today? Today let’s love the delays and bad reviews.

Good things are happening.

About the Scout

Ben Smith

Ben is an active investor in VR and digital media, and is based in Los Angeles. Ben was an early Google and YouTube exec, and has founded and led multiple venture-backed video startups. Get more of his insights and interviews here.

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