The Oculus B2B program is a train wreck.
I have been working in the field of VR for about 5 years. In this time I have bought about 33 Oculus Go devices and 3 Rift HMDs, starting with the Oculus Rift DK2. So I would see myself as a good customer and maybe even a fanboy. In the beginning, I had a very strong impression that Oculus is supporting small developers and businesses that venture into VR. Recently that has changed, and it is all about the so-called Oculus business program. If you don’t know: Oculus doesn’t want you to do business with the consumer-grade devices.
Like HTC and Microsoft, Oculus now wants to sell business licenses for their devices.
So far so good.
It started a view months ago.
Oculus pushed an update that somehow killed all my installed apps from all my GOs. There was no way to reinstall the apps. My library was empty. I had to factory reset the HMDs and created new accounts to get them running again.
If that was intentional by Oculus or not, I can’t tell. Just days later a sales guy from Oculus contacted me via email.
I asked the guy what the deal was with the disruptive update and he had no idea. After all, he was the sales guy. The first thing he wanted me to do is to tell him everything about my business dealings and my clients. I wrote him back that I will not disclose this information just because he is asking kindly. The guy then wanted me to enroll in the business program. He didn’t even bother to answer my questions about the business program and explain to me why he wanted all this information in the first place.
After some digging on the website I found out about the “advantages” of the program, that mainly consist of remote device management and you have to buy business-grade Oculus devices. And here is the thing…….
You then can only buy business Quest devices. There is no Oculus Go. The business Quest cost 900 €. Yes, the same hardware as the consumer Quest but new price… but wait for it… you get the magic B2B license.
So just to put this oculus offer in perspective, if I had created a 360° video app for a client and this client wanted to have some headsets for promotion or sales purposes I would be forced to sell this client Quest devices for 999 € just to playback 360 content that an Oculus Go headset for 150 € can playback just fine. That makes no sense at all. Good to know that there is the Pico alternative.
Oculus Go on the left and the superior Pico G4 Headset on the right
Anyway, I wanted to be compliant and see what they offer and I tell the Oculus sales guy I want to buy some business-grade quests and asked where can I buy such magic devices? He writes back to me telling me there is only one retailer for the whole of Europe and the retailer will contact me with an offer in the next days. I never heard from this retailer.
To sum it all up: Oculus is starting to punish me for not having the B2B devices. I also heard that some people in the community got an official warning by Oculus lawyers, because they were openly using the devices for business. At the same time, Oculus won’t sell these devices to me, even if I am willing to pay what they ask.
After some conversations with other community members, I get the strong impression that the B2B program is only for the big fish that have enterprise-grade clients who buy huge numbers of devices (Quest that is). If you are not so lucky and don’t have these kinds of clients, you are no use to Oculus and they won’t even bother to answer your emails.
What a funky concept.
So I will no longer use the Oculus Go and deploy my 360° content only to Pico devices avoiding scrutinies.
Besides 360° video, when it comes to having a 6-DOF alternative to the Oculus Quest, I am confident that there will be a non-Oculus solution, soon. The Pico Neo 2 is a promising candidate.