Pundits across the retail industry are just waiting for virtual reality to hit it big with brands and shoppers alike, but experts watching the used resale markets have already noticed a groundswell of unexpected interest in one company’s headsets.
Ars Technica reported that development kits for Oculus Rift are being sold on online marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon, for several times their original asking prices. In some cases, unopened packages of Oculus Rift’s second development kit have fetched upwards of $1,200, despite the original asking price of just $350.
What’s behind this seemingly random spike in prices for a product that’s been available for months? Ars Technica explained that because Oculus discontinued sales for dev kits in late October — possibly to create more room in the market for the rumored release of a consumer-facing model — the only way to purchase any kind of Rift device is through the resale market. As such, sellers know that they have valuable commodities on their hands, and as long as customers are willing to shell out almost four times the base price, why stop?
This isn’t the first time that Oculus has had to deal with supply and artificial pricing issues among resellers. A representative from the company confirmed in a 2014 Reddit thread that dev kits sold in China were popping up on marketplaces at “extreme” price points, which Oculus took as an indication of a widespread and deliberate reselling operation in the country. In fact, dev kits for the Rift have proven so coveted that the company limited the number of countries it would deliver to down to just nine throughout all of North America, Europe and Asia.
Make sure to keep an eye on the number of consumer devices Oculus decides to release; that will tell if it’s simply bad at supply chain management or utterly brilliant at creating demand from scarcity.