Sometimes, the hype surrounding the release of an anticipated product can work against sales. If the item in question works as intended but not quite as customers expected over the long wait for its release, it only takes one troll to start an Internet firestorm.
However, it appears as if Oculus isn’t taking any chances with the consumer launch of its Rift virtual reality headset.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey hand-delivered the first public Rift model to Ross Martin, an Alaska man who managed to beat other VR enthusiasts to the punch and record the first pre-order for the device back in January. Clad in an appropriately ironic Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and a pair of flip-flops, Luckey handed over the inaugural model to Martin – as the entire exchange was recorded on Facebook Live.
In an example of how haphazard the prospect of live streaming what used to be heavily orchestrated public relations events, Luckey caught Martin somewhat unprepared with the personal delivery. He was at work and as a result didn’t have his computer and couldn’t play any VR games for the live camera. Instead, the world was treated to a short, non-VR-related chat between Martin and Luckey about the former’s experience with sled dogs and the latter’s self-evident lack thereof.
Despite the somewhat awkward handoff, TechCrunch explained that Martin should consider himself somewhat “Luckey” to have an actual Rift in his hands and on his head at all. Most consumers who placed pre-orders for one of the VR headsets will still have to wait several more months before theirs arrive as Oculus attempts to move through its extensive log of backorders.
To his credit at least, Luckey told Oculus’ first public customer that the Rift’s development timeline has had an effect on him as well.
“I’ve been working on this thing for so long, and you’re the first person to actually get one,” Luckey said in the livestream. “So it’s kind of like me taking all of this work and handing it off to you so you’ve got to make sure you have fun with it or something.”