The Oculus community is aflame with discussions on what will be revealed at F8 this year. During a keynote speech at 10 am, 30 April, Mark Zuckerburg is expected to announce the release date of the Oculus Quest.
Last year, Oculus released the Oculus Go during the F8 conference, and in turn, the company has been tight-lipped on when the Oculus Quest will release this year. Following the evidence, fans suspect the Oculus Quest will get the same treatment as the Go.
Now, of course, the internet is rife with speculation, and there are some pieces of evidence that it may release on the 21 May instead. Here is why.
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The #QuestCountdown hints there is more to come
The #QuestCountdown is an initiative by internal Oculus employees where they drip new announcements for the Oculus Quest each week. The team also playfully references that they have yet to reveal the release date.
For this week, they said the following:
We’ve talked a lot about what you’ll be able to play on launch day, but there’s even more to talk about next week. Tune into F8 as #QuestCountdown continues!Oculus blog, 24 April 2019
Note the wording where the #QuestCountdown ‘continues’ next week. Not ends, or tuning down, but that there is more to come. The wording implies that there will be more than one post from next week, counting down to the release.
While the team has stealthily not indicated the release, the implication is that there will be some more waiting after the F8 conference.
No images of the Oculus Quest retail box has been shown
Last year, when the Oculus Go leaked ahead of the conference, a smattering of photos shows that the headset was just around the corner. An early leak on 1 February showed the packaging, while the below showed store shelves having the units ready to go:
By comparison, we have seen the demo units of the Oculus Quest litter Best Buy here and there, but no boxed units have been leaked to the public yet. The actions indicate that the units are still under production and that the demo units have been sent ahead of time to stir hype and promote preorders.
It may be that not a single image of the Oculus Quest retail box has been leaked to the public yet. However, this is unlikely considering the demo boxes have been leaked last week.
Microsoft Store and the Oculus Rift S
Many believe that the Oculus Rift S will release at the same time as the Oculus Quest. If that is the case, we have more confirmation that the release will, therefore, be 21 May.
On the store, it states that it will release that date:
While this may be only for the Oculus Rift S, it is now more unlikely that the headset will be dropped during the F8 conference.
Why will Oculus Quest release 21 May?
There are two collections of evidence. The first is two separate Reddit threads and comments which hint at the release:
Display up in Dallas, TX too. The bottom shelves that are protected by glass are empty but Best Buy manager says May 21.u/pjrezai, Reddit.
Oculus Quest launch is May 21.u/FreshChannel, Reddit.
Announcement is at F8
Source: Oculus internal
That’s it 😉
There is no evidence behind the Reddit comments or posts, though it is interesting that the date has been dancing around as the release inches closer. Of course, the evidence should be taken with a grain of salt.
The second is that the timings also make sense with the #QuestCountdown. 21 May is near the day of the week when the countdown would end, which would make thematic sense for the blog series. While the timings are not exact, the headset would be out in the wild once the countdown pushes its final post.
A marketing push
Ultimately, Oculus wants its fans to be raving and ready to buy the headset when it releases. Rather than drop it by surprise, Facebook is aware that it has a headset which might get mainstream appeal, and so the company might be tweaking its approach accordingly to be more in line with a traditional console launch.
As such, it makes sense for the company to announce the release date, and spend three weeks hyping the VR headset a little longer. Announce more games, and push preorders to boost day one sales, to get impressive statistics that can be taken to stakeholders and marketing. Many people, like myself, want the headset as soon as possible; but cultivating the release can bring massive benefits to the company in the long run.
The rumours can be false, and the Oculus Quest could be released imminently. We shall see very soon!
Editor, Virtual Perceptions