The so-hot-it-won't-stay-in-stock $400 VR headset has been popping in and out of stock for weeks. Here's where you can find it right now.
The Oculus Quest, the runaway hit VR headset that's been largely unavailable from any retailer since the holidays, is finally coming back in stock. That's great news for VR fans. The Quest earned an Editors' Choice here at CNET last year, and unlike most gadgets, it has gotten significantly better with age. Oculus last year rolled out a hand-tracking update that makes it possible for developers to create games that don't require controllers, and the Oculus Link software and cable enables the Quest to be tethered to a PC and play games written for the HTC Vive. Which brings us to the latest reason for shortages: Half-Life: Alyx, a flagship VR title from Valve that's designed to be run on pricey tethered headsets, but can be played just fine on a relatively inexpensive Quest using the Oculus Link.
The headset has been out of stock due to a combination of consumer demand, the impact of the coronavirus on manufacturing, and even sales bots that automate the purchase of limited-inventory products like the Quest and Nintendo Switch before average consumers can get to the website.
At long last, a variety of retailers are starting to have inventory again. If you've been waiting for a 64GB or 128GB model, now's the time to place an order. But there are a lot of caveats. Inventory is changing constantly, and there's no guarantee you can get the version with the storage capacity you want right now. So you may need to choose between waiting through more shortages or buying 128GB when you wanted the 64GB version (or vice versa). As a dedicated Quest owner, I'd say 64GB quickly gets a bit cramped, so I'd personally recommend the 128GB version. Even so, it's not hard to uninstall apps to make room for others; it's just inconvenient.
If you are getting a Quest with plans to play Half-Life: Alyx, you might need to get a long USB-C cable, and those have been hard to come by as well. Yes, thanks to a recent Oculus update, you can now use the USB charging cable that came with your Quest, but it's just 3 meters long, which is a little short for VR gaming. The gold standard is the 5-meter Oculus Link cable from Oculus, but that's been out of stock for ages.
Finally, keep in mind that there are rumors afoot about a next-generation Oculus Quest headset, which might see the light of day later this year or sometime in 2021. But right now, all we have are rumors, so if you want to strap into some Beat Saber or Half-Life: Alyx sooner rather than later