Facebook has decided to close around 200 of 500 total Oculus virtual reality demo stations at Best Buy in the US, according to a report by Business Insider. The reason is demo stations in certain stores were simply not being used, meaning it was costly for Facebook to employ someone to man the station.
"We're making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets," Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert said. "You can still request Rift demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the US and Canada. We still believe the best way to learn about VR is through a live demo. We're going to find opportunities to do regular events and pop ups in retail locations and local communities throughout the year."
Oculus began its partnership with Best Buy in April of last year. The rollout of demo stations began small, before expanding to 500 demo stations a few months later. An anonymous source has told Business Insider that Facebook is contemplating the creation of its own permanent storefronts to sell and demo Oculus VR. Oculus reportedly named Christa Wittenberg as its global head of retail in January, but no official announcement has been made.
As far as sales, the last report we heard was from SuperData, who said that the current VR market leader is Samsung Gear VR. Gear VR shipped 2.3 million units in 2016, PlayStation VR shipped 745,000 units, HTC Vive shipped 420,000 units, and Oculus Rift shipped 355,000 units. That's good for Sony, as the PlayStation VR was only available this fall, while the other headsets have been around since the first quarter of 2016.