Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Oculus Closes Many In-Store Demo Stations as VR Headsets Prove a Hard Sell" (FB; NVDA)

From MIT's Technology Review:
Facebook says it will continue to invest in virtual-reality technology despite evidence it’s not catching on with many consumers.
Oculus built it, but they didn’t come.

Facebook’s virtual-reality division created a network of 500 free demo stations in Best Buy stores to give people a taste of VR using the Oculus Rift headset. But according to a Wednesday report from Business Insider, about 200 of the demo stations will close after low interest from consumers.

People who worked in the stations told the publication that they would often not give a demo for days at a time. An internal memo obtained by Business Insider described plans to close many demo stations, citing “store performance.” Best Buy still plans to sell the headset.

The Rift is one of several high-profile consumer-oriented virtual-reality headsets released last year, but the technology is still in its early days. The headsets are bulky, and those offering the best experience, like the Rift, require a physical tether to a pricey PC. Even once you’ve got the gear, there still isn’t that much to do in VR.

Sales thus far seem to reflect this. Market research firm Canalys estimates that just over two million VR headsets shipped last year (it puts the Rift in third place, with almost 400,000 headsets shipped, behind Sony’s PlayStation VR and HTC’s Vive). That’s a small number compared to video game consoles. More than six million of the current top seller, Sony’s PS4, were sold just during the holiday season.

Oculus spokeswoman Andrea Schubert said that the network of demo stations contracted for “seasonal” reasons, and that the company is concentrating on offering demos at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the largest markets....MORE
And there is the reason we have posts like:

November 2016
NVIDIA: Don't Buy the Stock For The Autonomous Car Stuff (or virtual reality) NVDA; TSLA; IBM
Nov. 2016
"The Fuzzy Future of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality" (NVDA; FB)

And say stuff like:
May 2016
NVIDIA Sets New All Time High On Pretty Good Numbers, "Sweeping Artificial Intelligence Adoption" (NVDA)
We are fans.
Before we go any further, our NVIDIA boilerplate: we make very few calls on individual names on the blog but this one is special. 
They are positioned to be the brains in autonomous vehicles, they will drive virtual reality should it ever catch on, the current businesses include gaming graphics, deep learning/artificial intelligence, and supercharging the world's fastest supercomputers including what will be the world's fastest at Oak Ridge next year. 
Not just another pretty face.
Or food delivery app....
How Many Virtual Reality Headsets Could Realistically Sell This Year? (FB; GOOG; NVDA) 

And speaking of NVIDIA, earnings after the close today:

NVIDIA 4th Quarter FY17 Financial Results
Feb 9, 2017
2:00 PM PT

Listen to webcast