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Coronavirus slows Facebook’s Oculus Quest, rare VR hit, now sold out

MENLO PARK, Calif. – Virtual reality was going to be the next thing until it wasn’t. And then it was. 

Facebook’s Oculus Quest was a surprise, hard-to-get VR hit of the 2019 holiday season, a $400 headset that for the first time wasn’t connected to wires or a PC. Gamers and parents of gamers scrambled to buy a unit, only to be told that Facebook was backlogged and couldn’t ship units until February. 

Cut to February, and Facebook has been hit with a double whammy. Not only is it still behind, but the coronavirus’ effect on production and shipping in China has made the situation worse, slowing down logistics even more.  

“The coronavirus has been a wrinkle all companies are facing,” says Sean Liu, a product manager for Facebook. “So we’re all working through it.”

Consumers can’t even buy new units of the Quest. Purchase buttons on Facebook’s Oculus website are grayed out, and retail partners such as Amazon and Best Buy aren’t taking orders either. 

The only way to buy: Pick up a used Quest on eBay or elsewhere, where they sell for substantially more than retail, near $700. 

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What are readily available are games for the system. Oculus has more than 100 available Quest titles at the Oculus store, ranging in price from $14.99 to $29.99, including a new documentary about Mount Everest. 

VR gaming took time to catch on

How to explain the huge popularity of a genre that waited to take off for four years? 

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