Rumor: Oculus Rift Delays Due to Fresnel Lens Problems — Further Delays Possible As HTC Pulls Ahead

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a1While we are all relatively in the dark when it comes to the reasoning behind the recent delays in Oculus Rift virtual reality headset shipments, new rumors have emerged, this time out of Taiwan.  While there is little doubt that frustrations are boiling over because of the multi-month delay in shipments for pre-order customers, we may have found what the true cause of the unforeseen delay could very well be.  According to DigiTimes Research, a Taiwan-based research firm, Facebook and their subsidiary Oculus have run into a problem with the manufacturing of a key component of the device, the Fresnel Lens.

A Fresnel lens basically allows for the miniaturization of optics.  Instead of requiring a thick piece of plastic or glass in the form of a lens, Oculus was able to compact the lens while still allowing for key optical performance.  Fresnel lenses are nothing new to the optics world, but Oculus seems to have underestimated the difficultly in producing such custom lenses in mass quantity, according to this latest rumor.  Hairline cracks and fractures can be of issue, and Oculus must make sure that each lens is produced without fault.  According to DigiTimes Research, these issues likely will delay some pre-orders for as long as 4 months, taking shipments well into August.  With that said, if Oculus can not figure out a way to overcome the production complexity of the lens, the delays could persist for quite some time, as the company would have to consider redesigning the entire headset as well as OLED screens, and lens shape.

If the rumors by the  research firm are to be believed, these delays have allowed HTC and their Vive headset to greatly surpass the Oculus Rift in terms of shipments.  In fact DigiTimes has estimated that the HTC Vive will have shipped 234% more headsets by the end of 2016 than Oculus would have, and this gap between the two headsets could continue to grow if Oculus is unable to get the lens issues under control in short order.

HTC’s experience in supply chain management and shipping, via past smartphone roll-outs, has certainly played in their favor.  Whether these rumors are just rumors or are actually grounded in facts known by DigiTimes, we really can’t say for certain.  With that said, DigiTimes may have access to key component manufacturers working with Oculus, many of whom operate in Taiwan as well, and this rumor seems to have at least some legs to it.

What are your thoughts on the continued shipment delays?  Let us know in the Oculus Delays forum on VRTalk.com.

 

  • Burstup

    There are no “multi-month delay in shipments”. I already received my Rift last week. The delay was one week.

    • Brandon Phyle

      You’re a lucky one – make good use of her while the rest of us wait.

      • Burstup

        Thanks. I hope you’ll get yours soon!

    • DougP

      So your “sample of one” speaks to this major issue being reported?

    • Chau Thai

      You are wrong, there IS multi-month delay. Many people are having multi month delays. My shipping date is 20-30 June, which is 3 months delay. I ordered on the first day.

      • Zasheir

        Mine’s at the end of July and I also ordered on the first day.

      • Jad

        All you had was a delivery date in “April”. so it’s a 2 month delay.

        • Kevin Weinberg

          I had an actual delivery email of 1-3 weeks on March 24th and I’m probably not gonna get mine until around May 22nd.

    • Letrico

      Well I had expected May delivery and now it is first week of July. So yeah there are multi-month delay.

    • Neo Racer

      Lucky you…I was 6 mins in the order line and mines May 12th..IF Im lucky..

    • Kevin Weinberg

      Yeah the only thing here that’s bullshit is your post.

      I was originally given a March 28th estimate. Then I was told my “Rift is almost ready to ship” and got an email saying it’d be shipped out within the next 1-3 weeks.

      Now, i find out I won’t get it until mid May.

      So yeah…

  • Jad

    Funny, Oculus has already said the problem has been solved. So this whole article is a bit late and wrong (but published nontheless to generate clicks, I guess).