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Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the one-bad-apple dept.

China 131

An anonymous reader writes with news about how Oculus is dealing with the reselling of dev kits in China. Bad news for those of you looking to get your hands on a preorder of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. A representative from Oculus recently confirmed that the company has had to stop selling its headsets in China as a result of an undisclosed amount of reselling. Which is to say, some of those preordering the developer edition of the virtual reality headset in China — not the consumer product, which hasn't been officially released in any capacity just yet — aren't actually looking to develop anything on the headsets. Nor are they even interested in getting a first look at the virtual reality capabilities of the $350 development kit. They're scalping, plain and simple, to take advantage of what appears to be a hefty amount of demand for the device.

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On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395537)

On Reddit 3 Days Ago... come on /.

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395641)

Yeah, but some of us have a sense of self respect and wont touch that shit hole.

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395651)

I'm more than happy to get stale news here if it means that the self-centered, smug, support-my-bullshit-social-cause-or-you're-a-monster shit nugget hipsters who inhabit reddit stay there instead of coming here. Those people are the scum of the earth and they truly make me want to vomit up blood and even my own feces whenever I read any comments that they have posted.

My great fear at this point is that they'll see Slashdot as some sort of an online Detroit, and they'll move over here in great numbers trying to "restore" Slashdot to its former glory. That would, obviously, be a total disaster for this site that would be worse than even the destruction that the failed Slashdot Beta site has brought.

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395831)

In terms of anonymous communities, Reddit is at least somewhat more respectable than say... 4chan and Encyclopedia Dramataica. But you have sites Something Awful and Fark that are in the same line of thinking, but somewhat more moderated. Reddit has more in common with slashdot as both do AMA (Ask Me Anything) type of things, and slashdot has been doing it far longer than Reddit has.

Where Reddit falls down is similar to how Slashdot falls down. I'm not compelled to register (or login, IIRC I have a 6 digit slashdot id predating Google's rise out of obscurity, one of these days I'll remember the password,) Trolls have to be meta-moderated down, but the trolls often come in the shape of zealots just as much as they do plain old asshats.

Microsoft used to be public enemy number one on slashdot, then Apple started overthrowing areas that Microsoft wasn't putting much effort into. So now the "nerd ecosystem" is divided something like 35% Microsoft, 35% Apple, 20% Google, and 10% Linux/BSD/GNU/OSS squabbling. Mention Android is horrible here, and you get jumped all over cause "It's Linux" only it's not the form of Linux people want. Mention Android outside of Linux forums and everyone will rightly state how horrible it is, along with things like OpenStack. Mention Advertising (eg iAds, Google DoubleClick, MSN ads, etc) and everyone damn near has a meltdown how it betrays the RMS/GNU/Open-source philosophy even though it allows things to be free to read/watch/use.

But as far as the title of this story goes, there are lots of people who have connections, and it will make them a quick buck, they will do it. Hence ads on your free-but-easy-to-find-elsewhere content, and Apple selling the same hardware you can get 30% less if you build it yourself, or 10% less if you avoid the Microsoft Tax.

Re: On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 months ago | (#47395905)

vomit up... even my own feces

I imagine you'd want to hold that down, if you went to the trouble of ingesting it in the first place.

Re: On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47396851)

fecal vomiting is a thing. it's often a symptom of a serious problem, as is vomiting blood.

Re: On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398331)

this i (clearly) did not know...

question: is your ID a reference to Pat McManus's dog Retch in his childhood memoirs?

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395953)

U mad bro?

Slashdot is full of Linux hipsters too.

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 4 months ago | (#47396521)

I mean all of this was said by an Anonymous Coward, so take it with a bag of dogecoins and relax.

Re:On Reddit 3 Days Ago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397213)

In reality, both Slashdot and Reddit are complete shit, but at least Slashdot used to be good. Reddit was always garbage.

How Long for the Identical Copies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395541)

I give it five days...

Re:How Long for the Identical Copies? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#47395845)

Identical? No.
90 degrees tilted -- yes, I'd believe that.

Who cares, it's just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395553)

Not like oculus lost anything. In fact they are missing out on potential demand

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 months ago | (#47395735)

No, you moron, it is hardware.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47395833)

I think what AC is saying is that we're all stuck in The Matrix.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 4 months ago | (#47396127)

Whoa.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 4 months ago | (#47396191)

So what? It was sold. You only get to collect once, not every time it changes hands.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

HappyPsycho (1724746) | about 4 months ago | (#47397079)

Simple reason its a problem, they only have a certain number of of the units (these are dev kits not consumer units). These units are probably not being sold with a high profit margin.

They want these units to get to people who will either provide apps for it (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] ) or developer level feedback for bugs / improvements. When you are trying to get developers onboard with your platform and having scalpers doesn't help as it only increases the cost to develop for your platform.

Oculus isn't unique with this problem, I remember not getting a raspberry pi from the first batch yet finding it at 3-4 times the price on eBay (I had to wait a couple months for the next batch). Sadly, the same thing is going on with the beaglebone black atm.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397233)

Aww, poor little billionaire babies don't feel like making more and would rather stop selling entirely. Oculus VR is already going to fail due to their product's vapourware status and unkept promises. Let's see how much farther this latest stunt knocks them down.

Re: Who cares, it's just bits (1)

theCzechGuy (1888010) | about 4 months ago | (#47397621)

You're not listening. These are dev kits, they are not sold for profit, they are sold to create developer ecosystem. Production and distribution costs something, you understand that, right? Because of economies of scale, units produced and sold in small numbers may actually cost more that the final product if they don't make any profit at all. Besides if profit was the only thing Oculus cares about then why would they care who buys the devices? Riddle me that.

Re: Who cares, it's just bits (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397695)

*facepalm* You are quite simply a fucking moron if you believe that the cost of producing a dev unit and shipping aren't included in the price.

I also fail to see where I ever said anything about them doing this over profits. Go learn basic English comprehension before you post next time.

Re:Who cares, it's just bits (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 4 months ago | (#47397885)

no they're selling them to anyone with cash and 90% of people in the kickstarter weren't devs and neither are people getting it now...

if there's room for scalpers to operate, then raise the price in china. simple, huh? and bbb - the pricing is stupid for the demand. if they asked for more they could run a bigger batch faster....

China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395571)

No! No?! I'm shocked! Shocked, I say!

Why not limit them to one per customer? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47395573)

Wouldn't that make trying to scalp them prohibitively inconvenient?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (4, Funny)

Frnknstn (663642) | about 4 months ago | (#47395607)

Remind me, how many people are there in China?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47395731)

What does how many people there are have to with scalping? If they don't want to sell in China because there are too many people trying to order one in just that one country to both satisfy the demand there while meeting the demand anywhere else, then why don't they just say that instead of blaming it on people who are scalping dev kits?

One would assume that if scalping were a problem, limiting to one per customer would, as I said, make scalping prohibitively inconvenient... but all that you are saying is that they can't produce enough supply to meet the demand. They are two very different things, I trust that you realizes.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (2)

kesuki (321456) | about 4 months ago | (#47396729)

mark, the oculus rift2 devkit can play a few game engines, but it is not released to the public yet! it's not about shipping a full retail model in china, it is that chinese companies are requiring their employees to buy (at $350) the one per custom limit then selling them on ebay or like sites for $470 http://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-Oculus-Rift-DK1-Virtual-Reality-Headset-NEVER-USED-/151342637965?pt=US_Video_Glasses&hash=item233cb9638d [ebay.com]

$120 profit at posting time. to compound the issue the devkit includes chips that have been discontinued, and are no longer available unlike a 'retail' model which will use custom chips, from a vendor like intel or amd or someone else.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

kesuki (321456) | about 4 months ago | (#47397163)

correction dk1 units sel for $470 dk2 are not even on ebay yet. and dk1 weren't hd capable... they were more to just test game engines.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 4 months ago | (#47397631)

the oculus rift2 devkit

Mark said nothing to suggest he's confused about it being a devkit. Just that you can limit "scalping" by not allowing multiple sales. Any individual resales beyond that is irrelevant.

I'd go further, there's no such as scalping. If someone can resell an item at higher than your retail price, you failed to price or supply your product properly. The error is yours, not the "scalper's".

[In my state, there are specific laws that protect resellers. Preventing "one per customer" restrictions precisely for that reason. Many major retailers hate that law because it prevents them from using "loss leaders" to drive smaller rivals out of business.]

but it is not released to the public yet!

If you are selling a dev version, then you are retailing a product to the public. Again, if there is more demand at a higher price than you are supplying either quantity/price, the error is the vendor's, not the "scalper's".

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

Frnknstn (663642) | about 4 months ago | (#47397749)

Your glibly stated solution was that limiting the sales to one per customer would curtail scalping.

You did not offer any details about how personhood would be determined or how the limit would be enforced, so I was had to limit my response to a glib reply. I pointed out that one thing China has is a lot of people, and so on the face of it "one per person" may not be all that effective. You are wecome to elaborate on your plan?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395611)

There's over a billion gooks. You can't regulate those kinds of numbers.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47395677)

Are you suggesting that they'd get a billion different people ordering one from a single country?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 4 months ago | (#47396885)

the average hourly wage in Beijing is about US$4. you can imagine what it's like elsewhere. if the profit on scalping one of these is $120, that's roughly a week's worth of pay, probably closer to a month if you're in the boonies.

also, and maybe i'm going out on a limb here, i suspect it's not that hard to fake identification in China, at least to the point of transacting with a non-Chinese company. your solution won't work. there's just too much incentive to subvert these rules, and not enough infrastructure (or even desire) to prevent the fraud.

frankly, i don't see why they even bothered trying, if reselling was going to be a problem. maybe it's so they can say they tried? or maybe they actually wanted the publicity? i dunno.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397437)

the average hourly wage in Beijing is about US$4

Hey, that's pretty good considering in most of the US the average hourly wage is only $5.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397713)

$7.25 in Texas.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397431)

Funny, I didn't think Korea was that populous.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395815)

That "problem" was solved years/decades ago. Event ticket sales were limited to a certain number per customer, so a scalper just hired a some homeless people to stand in line and buy the tickets for him. The homeless dude makes $50 doing something he'd already be doing anyway (sitting around outside), and the scalper makes $950 per batch instead of $1000, but he can now do more than 1 batch. Everyone is happy (well, everyone except that guy who now can't get good tickets at face value)

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47395877)

That system doesn't scale very well when there is a limit of *ONE* per customer. That's not generally the case with event tickets, where one person may entirely reasonably be buying tickets for a themselves and anyone else that he or she specifically intends to go with so that they can all sit together. Regardless, the limit is large enough that its just practical to hire people to stand in line to buy tickets for you if you want a really large number.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 4 months ago | (#47396017)

If the markup per item is high enough then it may be worth paying people to buy them for you even for a single item.

Or depending on how exactly they are enforcing the one per customer limit just creating fake identities for yourself.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47396101)

As long as you know for sure that the person you are paying doesn't intend to just keep the thing that they bought for you.... which, since you paid them to scalp it for you, and scalping tends to be discourage by the law, you aren't terribly likely to succeed in any sort of legal claim for it. All you will have successfully done is subsidize their own purchase.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) | about 4 months ago | (#47396707)

As long as you know for sure that the person you are paying doesn't intend to just keep the thing that they bought for you....

We're talking about something that is ordered online and shipped straight to one of the scalper's many addresses, so there's zero chance the mule could run off with it.

...and scalping tends to be discourage by the law...

Show me *one* law anywhere in the world that prohibits the scalping of non-ticket items.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47396753)

If it's being ordered online, why would he need to hire anyone else to buy it for him?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

HappyPsycho (1724746) | about 4 months ago | (#47397147)

If a one-per-customer is being enforced by requiring separate credit cards / e-mail / paypal addresses / street addresses you may need some external help.

Given the scalpers markup may not be that much per unit, they may need to get a certain number of units sold to validate investing both the cash and effort.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47398171)

I worked for an event ticket company back in 2007 where the owner went out into one of the nation's largest cities and got hundreds of homeless people bank accounts. He'd bus them by the dozen *way* out of town to a *small* bank with no branches within 80 miles of Downtown. Then they'd get debit cards in their name and leave them with the owner for "safe keeping".

Then, whenever he needed tickets for stuff, he'd round them all up and they'd head to his basement. There he had over 200 computer terminals, outfitted with kvm switches. Each homeless bum would get 2 computers, each pair set to a different proxy server (because ticketmaster restricted each IP address to 2 ticket purchases).

I had developed a very complex set of GreaseMonkey scripts and a PHP web app that automagically directed all of the computers to the correct event ticket page, simultaneously. Because this all had to be done at the SECOND the event tickets went on sale, we had a literal countdown timer that went off the second the tickets went on sale.

Then you'd have hundreds of homeless bums pounding at the keyboards, furiously REFRESH REFRESH REFRESHING, trying to score the maximum number of tickets.

The boss got quite a rap as the "Savior of [City]" and every night after some big event sale, the bums would march right across the street to a 5-star highrise hotel, order a huge drink tab, hookers, you name it, and party like it was 1999 (which had only been 8 years ago ;). It was truly amazing to watch.

Did I mention that I set this up when I was 25? :)

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47396119)

That's not generally the case with event tickets, where one person may entirely reasonably be buying tickets for a themselves and anyone else that he or she specifically intends to go with so that they can all sit together.

This is also the case with small development shops --- usually you have more than 2 or 3 developers/testers, and you don't need just "one" occulus ---- you need at least 2 or 3 to do some serious development and testing.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47396187)

Actually, during the pre-release phase, they can and often will limit things to one per development shop until they have actually satisfied the other demand... only afterwards can a development shop make a request to get a second one. Also, in my experience, such development devices can differ in some significant way from the commercial product, and will thus remain property of the supplier... and the development studio has to return the device when they are no longer doing development for the product.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

HappyPsycho (1724746) | about 4 months ago | (#47397295)

Actually, during the pre-release phase, they can and often will limit things to one per development shop until they have actually satisfied the other demand

In a pre-release phase, what other demand with there be? No consumers should be able to get it at that point. If Microsoft / Sony send a pre-release XBox / PS4 to some dev shop that is creating games for it they wouldn't be sending a single unit (how the hell would you test multiplayer?), also if the specs of the hardware change they have to send the updated hardware (where I believe the cost is covered by MS / Sony).

This isn't some large corporation which can absorb such costs, and they don't need the NDAs so you get to own the hardware and as they say at https://support.oculusvr.com/h... [oculusvr.com] if you get a dev kit you are not automatically entitled to the newer versions.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47398215)

In a pre-release phase, what other demand with there be?

Other dev studios.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 4 months ago | (#47397743)

Re: ticket scalpers.

That "problem" was solved years/decades ago. Event ticket sales were limited to a certain number per customer

That's not a solution. That's just a pig-headed attempt to preserve the flaws of the existing system.

A solution would be to sell the tickets at the highest price people are willing to pay, at the number the vendor wants to offer. The easiest way to do that is to use auction systems. If people are paying what they are willing to pay, there's no profit margin for scalpers to resell. And if people are willing to pay more than the vendor expected, that extra profit goes to the vendor, not resellers/scalpers. If people are only willing to pay less, at least it guarantees the venue is full, which may still allow them to cover costs avoiding cancelling shows. (If demand is high enough, ie number of bids above an arbitrary price, the vendor might be able to book a larger venue. If it's low, they might be able to drop to a smaller (cheaper) venue, keeping the sense of "full house" for the atmosphere, plus increasing the intimacy of the show. Much better than a half empty venue. Such decisions could be built into the auction system to trigger automagically.) This system would also allow last-minute sales of the block of tickets held for the celebrity guest list (who often don't show.)

As I said elsewhere, there's no such thing as scalping. Only stupid vendors.

[If you are concerned about pricing certain people out of the market, you could offer a portion of the tickets on a lottery basis. Say limited to members of the local fan-club. Just as you offer "prize" tickets to radio-stations as part of your promotion.]

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

bengoerz (581218) | about 4 months ago | (#47396033)

Limiting the supply will just push up the black market price. Oculus just gave a boon to the first-mover scalpers.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47396293)

Wouldn't limiting supply involve limiting the *total* number sold, not just the number that they are allowing per customer?

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397131)

just hire some migrant worker or some other poor peasant (there's millions of them here!) and use their name and/or ID card to order. That's how the scalpers defeated Apple's one-device-per-customer rule. Eventually they limited some products to residents only. Good that equal rights and fairness aren't something the public in China dares to complain about, so you can get away with policies like this.

Re:Why not limit them to one per customer? (1)

khchung (462899) | about 4 months ago | (#47397433)

Wouldn't that make trying to scalp them prohibitively inconvenient?

You don't know how iPhones got into China before Apple started selling them there, do you?

The scalpers, or more appropriately, dealers just stand outside Apple Stores (wherever iPhones are available) and offer to buy from people who just bought the phone in the store, for a small profit. Soon enough, people aiming for that small profit started going to the store, buy an iPhone with credit card, then immediately sell it to the dealers for cash (and repeat for every credit they own, apply for more when all cards have been used). The dealers then hire other people to carry (i.e. smuggle) the phones, a few each, across the border into China and sell it for a larger profit.

How's that for crowdsourcing, heh?

That happened for every iPhone release until Apple officially started selling in China. No more profit == no more scalpers.

Simple economics, demand greater than supply, then the price increases. If the manufacturer won't increase the price or increase production to meet the demand, then some of the lucky few who got the goods will sell to someone else willing to pay more.

Hey, isn't that's what Free Market and First Sale Doctrine are about?

Time for #cardboard (1, Funny)

kyoko21 (198413) | about 4 months ago | (#47395599)

Time for #cardboard to get resold.

Re:Time for #cardboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395807)

#yoloswag420

Planar wood pulp virtual reality cellular content delivery system

Re:Time for #cardboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396099)

Does this look like twitter to you?

Good for Google (1, Funny)

countach (534280) | about 4 months ago | (#47395603)

All the more market share that will go to Google Cardboard instead!

Good for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396133)

It just goes to show you that if you have a good tech idea the big guys will not hesitate to kick your ass and take your business away from you. Although Oculus probably drew negative attention to its self by being bought out by Facebook.

So the Chinese have created a free market economy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395621)

All I gather from this is that the Chinese have created a free market economy for this good: when supply is limited, but demand is great, then the price must rise.

And I further gather that the Americans in this case do not understand how a free market economy works, as they are striving to put an end to the very natural economic practice of resale.

This is somewhat ironic, of course, given how America is often claimed to be a bastion of free enterprise, while China is often said to have a heavily controlled economy.

Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395693)

So what you're saying is that the free market is just an algorithm which isn't always optimal?

Or are you making some sort of religious zealot ideological argument which assumes that everything which happens to select this algorithm is good?

Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 4 months ago | (#47395751)

Why bring politics to a much more complex topic. This is not about liberalization of this good. It's not a good yet, it hasn't been released. It's not even an essential good. They are issuing developer editions for genuinely interested developers who will make the device popular with new content.

If you get a free market for these controlled sales, you will end up with gaming enthusiasts or knock-off reverse-engineers rather than real contributors getting the item, and companies know better than to buy an overpriced SDK: product won't sell if developers don't get easy access.

And from what I know, America is far from being "a bastion of free enterprise" mate: they sell iPhones through selected carriers, they won't allow companies to sell cars directly to consumers (Tesla), and they are one of the most import-afraid economies around - there's no other country where "Made in this country" is such a strong compelling argument. They don't like free markets, they like controlled markets, for whatever good or bad that may bring

Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (1)

Molt (116343) | about 4 months ago | (#47397985)

If they're taking money for it and selling it openly to the public then it's been released, it doesn't matter that the technology is labelled as being 'for development'. Were they to restricting sale to people who qualified as a developer in some way then maybe, but as it is most of these are finding their way into the hands of people who use them to play HL2, another couple of games, and then take up some space in the wardrobe.

Dev companies won't care too much, they'll take the $120 hit on a device if it's something they're going to make a lot more from. Getting the paperwork sorted to buy them may be more hassle, but most will do it.

Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 months ago | (#47396963)

You are ignoring things like asymmetric risk. If I buy a kit and cannot sell it for more than I paid for it, I can return it*. If Oculus Rift builds more dev kits than people are willing to buy, they can't just go back to the component manufacturers and say, "I bought too many of these, please give me back my money". So no, it's not "capitalism", if it were pure capitalism then we wouldn't have any consumer protection laws and they couldn't return any un-used merchandise(which would probably put the kibosh on these kinds of shenanigans but at a cost that isn't worth it).

I'm assuming there is a return policy, laws in most countries would probably support the consumer if they tried to return an unopened product in a reasonable time window.

Re:So the Chinese have created a free market econo (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 4 months ago | (#47397289)

laws in most countries would probably support the consumer if they tried to return an unopened product in a reasonable time window.

At least here in the UK there is a lot of protection for consumers but far less protection for people buying stuff for buisness reasons. The tricky bit of course is distinguishing real consumers from failed scalpers fraudulantly claiming to be consumers.

no idea if the same applies in other countries.

Fuck China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395623)

Just an overseas breeding ground for criminals. Hope they're the first to get nuked when WW3 breaks out.

Re: Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395669)

Kill your self.

Re: Fuck China (0)

drew_92123 (213321) | about 4 months ago | (#47395701)

Shut your yap you pinko commie bastard.

Re: Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395709)

What's the big deal? It's not like the chinese are even human, no great loss IMO.

Re: Fuck China (0)

drew_92123 (213321) | about 4 months ago | (#47395713)

Wow, the crazies are out in force today aren't they... go take your meds.

Re:Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395705)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebBxaWq10Gw

What do you expect from a country whose entire population came about through rape? What is called 'China' today, used to be a WHITE country. Watch the video.

Re:Fuck China (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 4 months ago | (#47396541)

WTF? Are you retarded or just plain stupid?

Re:Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397705)

He might also be one of those religious nutjobs who thinks the world is only a few thousand years old and that white people predate Asian people.

Good strategy (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 4 months ago | (#47395679)

Not selling it directly if price is being uncontrollably inflated is great strategy if they want to keep this product popular, especially in China. It was pretty obvious Chinese public would scourge the earth for these in order to start reverse engineering it in a country with poor IP legislation (especially for foreign IP), but the real problem Oculus would face with this Rift "black market" is marketing itself, as the product would immediately get the exclusive, overpriced label that a developing countries loves to hate. And the Asian market is no small piece of the pie for the paying gaming industry.

Re: Good strategy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395837)

China has good IP laws. If you create a product you *will* have to improve it and find ways to make it cheaper. If you don't, somebody else will just as soon as they can figure out how to. Contrast that with some other country's IP laws where you can lock down knowledge and bribe the government into enforcing artificial constraints in the marketplace.

There are people that think 75+ year copyright s and 20+ year patents are a good thing. I say let product evolution run unfettered.

Re: Good strategy (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 4 months ago | (#47396331)

WELL SAID.

Re: Good strategy (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 4 months ago | (#47396401)

I agree with everything you said except the first sentence. China does not have good IP laws because there is no balance. Some countries have restrictive IP laws like the US, and some have liberal IP laws like China and India. I don't know if there is any particular country with the perfect balance of protecting the interests of the inventor while not encumbering social development. To me that is perfect balance. Big Pharma is a known abuser of that decades long exclusivity which makes people die of tuberculosis

Re:Good strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396055)

China is far from perfect, but their imaginary property laws are much better than those of most nations. Almost everywhere else, the imaginary property laws that were created to benefit the public good were distorted and abused to prevent innovation and keep the money flowing into the same pockets.
Back to Oculus, to me it isn't clear why they don't simply raise the price. It would reduce the number of developers with access to the hardware, but outright suspending the sales could be even worse and probably will piss off some people for no reason.
That said, I hope it fails and some other company gets it right. Facebook is not a company I want producing hardware I use.

Re:Good strategy (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 4 months ago | (#47396343)

Dude, it's a subsidiary, it's not that big of a deal. I bet you use a lot of hardware and software made by worse companies, which unlike Facebook have a track record of abusing your privacy for your own prejudice. Google, Apple and Microsoft are just some examples. Do you consider the hardware worse because it was made by such companies? Or are you saying that the fact a social media company, like Facebook, controlling a gaming company might have worse consequences than:
- a search company creating a mobile OS, phones, and enforcing guidelines to phone developers (Google);
- a "designer" company limiting your (as described by themselves) high-margin smartphone from being smart because carriers can't handle the bandwidth (Apple);
- an OS company which instills last century software patterns while playing catch with the previous 2 in new platforms for hardware, software and the cloud?

I'll give you 2 examples of weird success stories on companies one would least expect it:
- Blizzard making an MMO out of an RTS
- Amazon making an e-reader out having an online bookstore

Why do Americans hate capitalism ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395697)

Or is it the Chinese are better at it than you?

Re:Why do Americans hate capitalism ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397133)

why cant the Chinese abide by one single contract they agreed to?

If only it was happening in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47395847)

I'm losing hope we'll ever get a first-person tentacle-on-schoolgirl simulator.

Re:If only it was happening in Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396169)

Actually.... this [kotaku.com]

What's wrong with reselling? (2, Insightful)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 4 months ago | (#47396043)

There's nothing wrong with "scalping, plain and simple." It's just a secondary market for goods - the very kind we like when we talk about books or music. You have a right to resell things.

If there's a very active secondary market for something, that suggests people are having a hard time getting it from the primary source, or there's just not enough to go around to everyone who wants one, so a higher market price forms. It encourages people who have one to sell it for the new, higher price (increasing supply); and it ensures that those who most urgently want one can get one if they so choose.

Re:What's wrong with reselling? (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about 4 months ago | (#47396325)

And furthermore, strategy wise, it provides the opportunity for the manufacturer to actually find out what the product is worth. But I guess you're more likely to do that if you're not funded by Silicon Valley VCs.

Re:What's wrong with reselling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396903)

Bad assumptions behind your statements.
1) They need a developer base; hence selling developer kits
2) Don't assume they're selling at a profit.
3) Large "developer kit sales" with no developers will piss off everyone.

Re:What's wrong with reselling? (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 4 months ago | (#47396939)

The problem is that this is not a consumer product - it's a development kit. It isn't ready for consumers yet, and is intended only for use by developers so they can have something ready when the retail version is available.

Reselling to non-developers might give Oculus a bad rep because they're being judged by an incomplete product that wasn't supposed to be used by such people. So I can see why Oculus is trying to avoid this happening.

Re:What's wrong with reselling? (2)

ThePeices (635180) | about 4 months ago | (#47397187)

Its because these are developer kits, not the final consumer product. There is only a limited number of devkits, and these kits are for developers, not end users.

The Chinese can resell as many consumer Rifts as they wish, there will be no limit. Dev kits are another matter entirely

Re:What's wrong with reselling? (0)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 4 months ago | (#47397275)

Yes they're developer kits, and nearly everything in the world is limited in supply, how does this change the situation? Secondary markets like this expand access to the product to those who want it, not limit it. It encourages people who have one to sell it, and it makes it possible for those who need one now to get it now.

What's wrong with reselling? (1)

RoadDoggFL (876257) | about 4 months ago | (#47398101)

What's wrong with reselling is that it leaves revenue on the table for artists/entrepreneurs, instead giving it to those who add zero value. With a high demand product, a consumer-friendly price is taken advantage of by scalpers and consumers end up getting screwed, because the money they pay above retail doesn't support the product. I really wish products like this in high demand (also game consoles and general admission tickets) could be auctioned until they shipped (or the day before the show) so the actual value of of the product is collected by those who produce it and will support future investment into it. Oculus could have a leader board of sorts, showing the price needed to get in on the next shipment, and once you're auctioning to determine the value of a product, you're already determining the market value and significantly increasing the risk for scalpers to not recoup their expenses.

I'll just grab one from work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47396221)

I'll gust grab one from work.

What's the big deal, Occulus? (2)

phmadore (1391487) | about 4 months ago | (#47396315)

I realize they have the right to stop selling anything to anyone at any time for any reason, but I'm struggling to figure out what their beef with this is. They should simple alter the dev kit product so that it is virtually impossible to not spot the difference between it and the actual product. This way the resellers will be prevented from claiming the device is the genuine article. Otherwise, what's the problem? Someone else making money off your product? Did Steve Jobs come out of the grave and buy this company? Am I being an asshole or is this just more anti-Chinese xenophobic garbage in the US media and amongst decision makers here? So what if I decide I want to do that, from Colorado? What are you going to do, sue me? I buy it, it's my property. It doesn't quite matter why I buy it, or for what purpose I buy it. Then I have the right to sell it. For whatever price I value it at that you are willing to pay. Is this not the way capitalism is supposed to work? I'm not going to pretend it does work, I'm just asking, did I get that part right?

Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (2)

ThePeices (635180) | about 4 months ago | (#47397199)

Its because there are a limited number of devkits being made and there is a limited number of kits being made per day.

The dev kits are for developers, not end users. The manufacturing is not scaled up for mass dev kit production, for very obvious reasons. The consumer version will have no such limits.

What's the big deal, Occulus? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 months ago | (#47397825)

Its hard to work out what the issue is.
China will see the product in the same way it saw 4k displays at 30 and 60 Hz. A flood of new VR products at a working class price point to meet market demands will be in shops globally.
Some will have Windows, Mac and Linux support, others will be more driver and OS bound.
So in time you will be able to find some great made in China VR products at various price points with interesting hardware support for your VR needs via brands from China.
No need of think about the past, just think of the VR fun, dev support and product selection from China.
China will do what most nations do, route around any issues and get back to sales of their own products.
Compatible headsets for all, just not from one brand at the expected price point :)

Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (1)

bentcd (690786) | about 4 months ago | (#47397935)

I realize they have the right to stop selling anything to anyone at any time for any reason, but I'm struggling to figure out what their beef with this is.

The value of the Oculus brand is greater the more developers they can snag to work on/with their product, and so the more developers that get their hands on the devkit the better for Oculus. They are limited in how many devkits they can build however and so it is important to Oculus that every single one that they make goes to an actual developer, because that developer increases the brand value. Every devkit that goes to a non-developer is a net loss to Oculus because that is a devkit that did not go to a developer.

This would be different if they were not production constrained but I expect that they are.

Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 4 months ago | (#47398097)

The value of the Oculus brand is greater the more developers they can snag to work on/with their product, and so the more developers that get their hands on the devkit the better for Oculus.

That isn't consistent with them selling the units. The moment you charge money you are just selling them. If you are selling them, you can't argue you're trying to target devs. (And if the units are worth more second hand than new, you are clearly charging too little.)

They are limited in how many devkits they can build however and so it is important to Oculus that every single one that they make goes to an actual developer

Then they shouldn't be selling them to anyone who orders one. They should be lending units to their preferred developers on an invitation-only basis. They can then put any conditions they want in the loan agreement (such as a large penalty for any unit not returned, to prevent (or at least discourage) them being sold.)

Since being purchased by Facebook, they have much less need for new cash to fund their ongoing development, so that isn't an excuse. When they were independent, cash was an issue, in which case selling "dev" units for less than market demand price is just robbing themselves of money they could use to pay for the second batch or second version.

Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (1)

bentcd (690786) | about 4 months ago | (#47398167)

That isn't consistent with them selling the units. The moment you charge money you are just selling them. If you are selling them, you can't argue you're trying to target devs.

But of course you can, if that is in fact what you are doing.

Then they shouldn't be selling them to anyone who orders one.

And apparently they are not anymore: they're no longer selling to China because they've learned they don't tend to end up with developers over there.

The devkits are theirs to sell to whoever they wish, and if they don't want to sell to China then that's their business.

That's how China works (1)

Dr.Saeuerlich (27313) | about 4 months ago | (#47396487)

Nothing new, this is just the modus operandi here in China. Anything, iPad, iPhones, tickets for concerts, movies, anything that has limited availability and a chance for slightly higher than usual demand gets scalped - even if it means ordering lots of stuff from overseas or smuggling things, like iPhones, from Hong Kong.

The Occulus folks are just doing the same that Apple is doing - finding a way to ensure that the product falls into the hands of people who will actually use it. In HK it took them a couple of measures to ensure that HK residents get hands on the iPhone first, over scalpers coming for a day trip from the mainland.

Scalping? China? Say it ain't so! (2)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 4 months ago | (#47397423)

The only thing about this article that shocks me is the fact that the sellers were naive or ignorant of the fact that this is obviously going to happen, as it has with every device available in any market. There are many Chinese (especially students) who live abroad and have 'side-businesses' where they open up taobao stores and sell 'import goods' which are local purchases for them, they'll get you whatever you want from domestic western/1st world markets and mail them to you in China..

Reverse engineering (1)

KraxxxZ01 (2445360) | about 4 months ago | (#47397569)

Wont be surprised to see Uculus Roft selling before Oculus Rift.

Lock the hardware to the developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47397983)

All Oculus would have to do is to lock the hardware so it only works on the
developer's account who originally ordered it (a bit of a DRM layer in the driver
and/or SDK software, specific to the Dev kits). Problem solved. Transfer of
ownership would require mailing in some kind of form to the company (make
it a bit of a hassle)

Instead they choose to lock out an entire market.

Christian

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