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Oculus launch gets stranger as hardware hits Best Buy and others before pre-orders fulfilled

The good news is you can wait in line again?

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Curious about virtual reality? You'll be able to get a demo of the retail Oculus Rift at 48 Best Buy locations starting on May 7, with more locations coming later in the summer. You'll even be able to go online, see what stores are participating and schedule your demo up to a month in advance.

Here's the kicker: You'll also be able to buy the hardware in-store, even before all the pre-order customers receive their Rifts.

"A small number of Rifts will be available for purchase at select Best Buy stores starting May 7 and online from Microsoft and Amazon, starting May 6 at 9 a.m. PST," Oculus' blog post states. "Quantities will be extremely limited while we catch up on Rift pre-orders."

You can, in fact, perhaps wait in line, buy the hardware at retail, and then cancel your pre-order. Oculus is planning on some customers doing exactly that.

"We know that many pre-order customers are still waiting for their Rifts, so we're offering those customers a chance to purchase Rift from retail instead — while keeping their pre-order benefits, like the EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack and priority status for Touch pre-orders," the company explains. "If you’re interested, simply go to your order status and let us know you’ve purchased a Rift at retail, and we’ll cancel your pre-order. Your EVE: Valkyrie entitlement will appear in your order history."

The Oculus Rift was released on March 28 of this year, you can read our review to get caught up, but component shortages led to many orders being delayed. Customers ordering on the website today are told to expect their units to arrive in August.

We asked Oculus how many units will be set aside for retail, and they declined to cite specifics, but did say it was "a very small amount right now while we focus on shipping pre-orders." The demo stations will include Dreamdeck and The Climb experiences to start, with Farlands being added at a later date.

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