Months Later, the 'Oculus for Business' Program is Still "Available Soon"
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Back at the end of April, 2019, Oculus introduced “the new Oculus for Business” program, an enterprise-focused program which would see Oculus headsets sold with customized software aimed at large scale device management and business and commercial use-cases, along with specialized support and warranties. While the company expected the program to launch in the Fall of 2019, the Oculus for Business program is still not open for business.
If you’re an enterprise looking to use VR to enhance your business, you may have come across the Oculus for Business program. Through it, Oculus pairs the Quest headset for $1,000 with specialized software, licenses, and support for large scale enterprise deployments.
The official site presents the program as ripe and ready for enterprise needs, but for anyone except select pilot partners, the program has been “available soon” for months following its expected Fall 2019 launch. For businesses hoping to integrate VR into their organization, that’s months of frustrating uncertainty.
When we reached out to the company, Facebook gave us a status update but still wasn’t able to be any more specific than “soon” regarding open availability of the Oculus for Business program.
“We recently completed beta with a closed group of customers and ISVs, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. This month we’re continuing a gradual rollout to additional customers in the order with which they purchased and as hardware becomes available,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “Oculus Quest is currently backordered, and we’re working hard to replenish stock. We plan to continue with release to everyone, including new customers, soon.”
While other companies have had enterprise programs in place for some time, the slow and uncertain rollout of Oculus for Business continues a trend which has earned Facebook a reputation for being obtuse to the needs of enterprise VR customers outside of hand-picked high-profile organizations.
That extends to which Oculus hardware Facebook even offers through the Oculus for Business program. If Rift S or Oculus Go are the best fit for your business, you’re out of luck; Quest is the only option, making ‘Oculus Quest for Business’ a more fitting name.
Facebook will sell Rift S and Go in bulk with an enterprise license, but key enterprise-focused features—like remote device management, provisioning, kiosk mode, and more—are only available on Quest. Oculus had planned to offer Go as part of Oculus for Business, but said it dropped the headset based on pilot feedback.
HTC on the other hand—which has long touted its Vive Enterprise program alongside a turnkey VR arcade platform—offers enterprise features across its entire line of products, both PC and standalone.
Speaking with Facebook about the Oculus for Business program, the company pointed us to both the Enterprise Use Agreement which governs the program, and the Hospitality Entertainment Combination Addendum, which further details limitations and responsibilities for business-to-consumer use-cases like VR arcades and attractions. The latter, interestingly, forbids companies from “implementing any custom co-location functionality” (ie: two users sharing the same physical space for a multiplayer experience), a capability which, to our knowledge, Oculus has not made available to developers since demonstrating it more than a year ago.
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