Oculus Rift

Should Oculus Home Have A Refund Policy?

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Throughout the week, early adopters have been reporting the arrival of their consumer version Oculus Rifts (CV1). But this new consumer market presents new user problems.

It’s no big secret that virtual reality can induce motion sickness in its users. In the earlier days, most of the sickness caused was put down to the fact that the hardware wasn’t quite up to scratch. The Oculus DK1, for example, was renowned for its ability to deliver a slightly juddery, if not jarring experience. But it was all stepping stones.

We are now at a point in history where virtual reality hardware, available to consumers, is capable of delivering a substantial experience that doesn’t induce sickness, per se.

Which then leads us to content. As a lot of users may be aware, Oculus Home, the new official content platform for the Facebook-owned headset, categorises its content in three tiers of intensity. Starting from, Comfortable, to Moderate then Intense. But what about users that have an intensity endurance beyond these categories, the users that find games and apps to be too intense to use.

As it stands, Oculus has an “all sales are final” approach regarding content purchased through Home. But is this the best way to go?

The current state of the market pits the two main PC platforms for VR, SteamVR, and Oculus Home, against each other for content sales, in a battle that some have coined “the console wars on PC”.

In a recent post on Reddit, site user kenman884 detailed their experience when trying to return a game deemed ‘not fit for purpose.’ In most consumer cases, this alone would be grounds for a refund.
Assuming the refund was requested promptly and that the product was not damaged, which is no real issue on a digital download.

Oculus-Rift-1

However, the interaction between buyer and seller didn’t quite pan out this way, Reddit user, kenman884, opened a support ticket explaining the issue they were having with the game, to which Oculus responded

“I understand you are unhappy with your experience playing VR Karts on the Oculus Rift and would like a refund.
We realize it can be frustrating when an app or game does not meet your expectations; however, all purchases from the Oculus Store are final.
Please let me know if I can help with anything else.”

VRKarts_Large01

It’s hard to understand the reasoning of an “all sales are final approach” especially in such an unestablished market, with so much still untested and unknown.

Although it’s possible that this is not the case, it does come across a little ‘money grabbing’. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, it seems unfair that early adopters should have to be stuck with something that is, effectively, unusable to them. Especially given the level of investment they’ve committed, to get them to this point.

It’s also important to note, that Valve introduced a refund policy for digital downloads on June 2, 2015. A policy that allows users to request refunds on games and DLC for up to 14 days after purchase.

It seems detrimental to the Oculus cause to provide such little aftercare to users regarding content. One of the biggest benefits of VR becoming a consumer market is that those consumers will, therefore, be able to provide much-needed feedback on things that work and things that don’t. That said, a refund request is probably the most comprehensive feedback for the latter.

Since kenman884’s story came to light on Reddit, the general consensus from the community is that its best to buy content from Steam. Last month we spoke about the importance of software sales to make up for low margins on hardware. So could Oculus be shooting themselves in the foot by not offering a refund policy? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Update: Oculus have decided to honour a refund on this occasion. The response came via a support ticket and was as follows:

“Just following up with you regarding your refund request.

While Eslpeth is correct that all sales are final, we do have more options from time to time.

In this case since you’ve never asked for a refund before, we can go ahead and provide this for you.

This refund should arrive in about 3-5 business days, back to the original payment card.

As we are unlikely to able to offer this in the future, please reach out to us if you have any questions on content. We’re happy to lend a hand.

Have a great week!”

It’s interesting that Oculus customer support specified the fact that the user has “never asked for a refund before.”  Our issue’s with this is that the user is, therefore, responsible for making purchasing decisions for something that is somewhat subjective and hard to gauge without first trying the product. This could end up isolating the consumer from the market, as users may be less inclined to fork out for premium titles listed as “Intense” if they feel there’s a chance that it may not be right for them. We have reached out to Oculus to comment on the subject.

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2 Comments

  1. ron

    6th April 2016 at 5:27 pm

    with no refund – there should be demo’s. to try before you buy.

  2. Britt

    3rd June 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I know this web page gives quality based articles or reviews and other stuff, is there any other site
    which offers these stuff in quality?

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