Facebook is set to close some 40 percent of its Oculus pop-up stores due to low consumer interest. At least 200 of the 500 Oculus pop-ups in Best Buys across the U.S. are expected to shut down.
“They didn’t press on selling,” a Best Buy worker from Texas told Business Insider. “Their main thing was to have us do demonstrations and get people talking about Oculus.”
Business Insider said that employees from multiple Best Buy locations going days without giving a demonstration was common following a decline in foot traffic after the holiday shopping season.
Oculus spokesperson Andrea Schubert was quoted as saying, “We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets. 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.”
Best Buy will still sell Oculus Rift headsets, and curious consumers can still request demonstrations at hundreds of Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada. Oculus first partnered with Best Buy to demo its Rift VR headset technology back in April 2016.
In late December 2016, Facebook and Oculus acquired the Eye Tribe, a technology startup that created an eye-tracking device developer kit, for an undisclosed sum. The Eye Tribe also created foveated rendering technology, which enables a VR system to hold onto computational power by generating perfect graphics only where the user is looking.
Facebook bought Oculus in back in2014 for a total of $3 billion. The technology at large has yet to become a mainstream success. In the recent Facebook earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to continue investing heavily in VR technology development and marketing as part of the company’s 10-year plan. He anticipated, however, that the tech will take more time to become profitable.