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Coronavirus is exacerbating Oculus Quest shortage and that's a drag

(Image credit: Oculus)

The wireless Oculus Quest made Andy Kelly love virtual reality again, as he wrote last month, and for most people it's simply the best VR headset option. Unfortunately, it continues to be in short supply. Adding to the frustration, Facebook anticipates a prolonged delay in getting sufficient shipments out the door because of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

"Oculus Quest has been selling out in some regions due to high demand. That said, like other companies we’re expecting some additional impact to our hardware production due to the coronavirus. We’re taking precautions to ensure the safety of our employees, manufacturing partners and customers, and are monitoring the situation closely. We are working to restore availability as soon as possible," Facebook said a statement.

Facebook issued the statement around two weeks ago, and since then, it does not appear much as changed. Speaking with USA Today, Sean Liu, a product manager for Facebook, described the coronavirus as a "wrinkle all companies are facing."

The shortage of Quest headsets is a major bummer. Part of what makes the device so exciting is that it is a completely self-contained VR solution, meaning there is no need to run a cable from the headset to a PC. This allows you to take it anywhere, something Andy found "extremely liberating."

Portability doesn't come at the expense of crappy hardware or features, either. The Quest offers up a OLED display with a 2880x1600 resolution, an improvement over the Rift S at 2560x1440. And if you want to, there is the option of buying a Link cable so you can plug the headset into your PC to play Rift games.

The Quest costs $399 for the 64GB model and $499 for the 128GB model. However, the only way to get one right now is to pay an inflated price from a second-hand seller. For example, a marketplace seller on Walmart's website has the 64GB model listed for $577.60, and pricing is similar on Amazon.

You can't even order one on the Quest's product page anymore. The last time I checked was in December, and at the time Facebook was projecting new orders would go out in late February. Now the buttons to buy either model are both grayed out and marked "Unavailable." Drats.

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).