Oculus Closing 200 Best Buy Demo Stations Over Slower Traffic

Facebook’s Oculus had been hoping to win wary customers over to the idea of virtual reality by setting up hundreds of pop-up demo stations inside Best Buy stores around the country. Turns out, folks may not be all that interested, so Oculus is shutting down about 40% of these in-store test drive locations. 

Business Insider reports that Facebook, which purchased Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, is closing about 200 of its 500 Oculus demo stations.

While a memo sent to the affected Best Buy locations cited “store performance” as the reason for the pop-up closures, a rep for Oculus says the shuttered stores were due to “seasonal changes.”

“We’re making some seasonal changes and prioritizing demos at hundreds of Best Buy locations in larger markets,” the rep tells BI, noting that the company still believes the best way to learn about the system is through a live demo.

To that end, Oculus says that it will host regular demo events and pop-ups at select retailers.

Employees at some of the affected Best Buy stores echoed Oculus’ explanation in shuttering the stores, noting that traffic at the pop-ups decreased dramatically after the holidays.

In some cases, the employees said they only sold one or two systems a week during the holidays, and that it wasn’t uncommon for the demo station to not be used for days.

“They didn’t press on selling,” one Texas worker tells BI of Oculus’ strategy. “Their main thing was to have us do demonstrations and get people talking about Oculus.”

A rep for Best Buy says that stores with closing demo stations will continue to sell the systems.

While there will be fewer Best Buy Oculus demo stations, sources tell BI that Facebook is contemplating opening its own permanent Oculus storefronts to sell the systems.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.