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The Oculus Rift Comes to Retail Stores This Week, But Pre-Order Customers Still See Delays

Oculus Rift pre-orders have been stacked up with delays for a while now, but the virtual reality headset will nonetheless enter into retail distribution as of this week. Specifically, 48 Best Buy stores across the United States plan to stock the device starting on May 7th.

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Things We Saw Today: Everything Is Awesome! At the BAFTAs, Anyway

Take that, Oscars.

The LEGO Movie got the appreciation it so richly deserved at the biggest awards ceremony in filmmaking: the BAFTAs. Fun fact: There used to be an award show people really liked called the "Academy Awards" or  "Oscars," and then everyone got the sense that they were out of touch and stopped caring.

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Best Buy Capitalizes On Murder Of Teenage Girl In Callous Serial Tweet

"Payphones" or "a competent social media team," I guess.

Your daily corporate social media blunder: Best Buy capitalizing on the murder of an 18-year-old girl!

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Two Shoppers Camping Out for Black Friday at Best Buy Already. Yes, Really.

I heard next year's Black Friday line starts this Christmas Eve.

What I can't figure out is why you'd go to such great lengths just to be the person who gets squashed against the door and incapacitated before it even starts.

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My Painfully Short Hands-On With Super Smash Bros. for Wii U at Nintendo’s Smash Fest

And my comparatively long tale about it.

Last night, hundreds of Smash Bros. fans lined up outside of Best Buy to get a chance to play the Wii U version of Smash Bros. before its release this holiday season, and that was just at my local Best Buy. But we were patient, and we waited, and we finally got the chance to play the game. You know what? It was worth it.

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Google’s Packed a Lot Into New Nexus 7 For Just $230 [Update]

Better, faster, stronger.

Google took the wraps off it's updated Nexus 7 Android tablet today. According to the pre-order page on Best Buy's site, the specs are pretty impressive considering the $230 price tag. The screen, processor, and operating system all saw a slight bump which makes the affordable tablet all the more tempting.

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The Little System That Could: OUYA Now Available in Stores

It's a gaming console that costs less than $100. Heck. Buy two.

If you weren't one of the 63,416 people who contributed to the OUYA console's mega-successful $8.6 million dollar Kickstarter campaign then you've had to wait for the little system that could to finally hit store shelves. Today is that day, frugal gamers! The OUYA is now available at Target, GameStop, and Best Buy if you absolutely must rush out to buy it now. If you can't find it in stores, or if you don't mind waiting for it to ship you can also order it on Amazon.

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Doing It Right: Best Buy to Make Internet Price-Matching Policy Permanent

If you're going to buy a thing -- any kind of thing, really -- Amazon tends to be the first thought if you're someone that uses the Internet. The old guard when it comes to retailers, like Best Buy or Target, are last on the list to be checked. Showrooming, however, is more popular than ever. Checking stuff out in a physical store and then buying online is all the rage. In an effort to fight back against the beast that is online retail, Best Buy has revealed that they're making their Internet price-matching policy permanent for a select few retailers.

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Amazon Starts Premature Holiday Shopping Season With Early Kindle HD Release

Amazon doesn't seem content to wait until next week to start with the holiday offers. It just released the Wi-Fi enable version of its new Kindle Fire HD five days ahead of schedule. That means that holiday shopping season is officially upon us, and even a little faster than usual. At this rate, we'll all be doing our shopping for next Christmas by sometime around President's Day, and will probably just skip the other holidays altogether.

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Best Buy Founder Offers to Buy Business Back

Best Buy's founder, Richard Schulze, resigned as chairman of the company just this past June after it was revealed he'd mishandled allegations against the CEO. At the time, he was considering his options in regards to the 20% stake he had in the company, and it looks like he's finally made a decision. In a letter sent to the board, Schulze has offered to take the company private for $24 to $26 a share -- which roughly translates to $8.5 billion at the midpoint.

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Best Buy Failing in the U.K., Closing Its Stores and Getting Out

Despite big plans to open up 100 stores in Great Britain and take all of Europe by storm, Best Buy has failed in the U.K. and is now closing the 11 stores it actually managed to get open because they have been hemorrhaging money. In a statement, Roger Taylor, CEO of the Carphone Warehouse Group, a company partnered with Best Buy in the U.K. venture, put it this way:

“The eleven Best Buy UK ‘Big Box’ stores have performed exceptionally at the level of customer satisfaction, but they do not have the national reach to achieve scale and brand economies. Due to the lack of visibility of an acceptable rate of return on historical and future potential investment, we have decided against rolling out more ‘Big Box’ stores and we will be closing our existing stores, subject to consultation with our employees.”

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Rhapsody Planning to Acquire Napster, World Shrugs

In a recent press release, Rhapsody has announced that it intends to buy Napster. After the deal goes through, the two will presumably see what Friendster is up to and try to bring back the floppy disk. Kidding aside, the details of the deal are scarce at the moment, but it looks like the deal will go through at the end of November at which point Rhapsody will inherit all three of Napster's users and Napster's current owner, Best Buy, will get a slice of the slightly less dated music service in exchange.

In a statement, the adorably optimistic president of Rhapsody, Jon Irwin, said that he expects the deal to "further extend Rhapsody's lead over our competitors in the growing on-demand music market." And he's probably right. It's not like there is another on-demand music service that people are constantly talking about. More details will doubtless become available in the coming months, so expect all of your favorite websites to poke fun or pass over the story entirely, as they are likely to do.

(via Rhapsody)

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E-Mail Marketer Epsilon Hit with Huge Security Breach; Major Brands’ Customers at Risk

Not an April Fools' joke: On the first of the month, e-mail marketing firm Epsilon disclosed that it had been subject to a security breach, leaving the email addresses and names of customers exposed. While Epsilon may not be a household name, many of the clients on whose behalf it handles email newsletters and updates are: Among them, Best Buy, TiVo, Walgreens, Kroger, Brookstone, Disney, Destinations, JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, Citi, McKinsey & Company, and even The College Board.

While Epsilon says that "a rigorous assessment determined that no other personal identifiable information associated with those names was at risk," the breach remains a big deal in that it could leave the people affected more vulnerable to phishing attacks. It stands to reason that malicious emails that address recipients by name and appear to come from the brands that people regularly receive email from are more likely to successfully hoodwink people than are blind emails.

To this end, many, though not all, of the brands impacted by the breach have sent out emails notifying customers to be aware. As Epsilon has refused to disclose which of its clients' email databases were affected, it's possible that more brands will announce that their customers' data was compromised. To this end, if you regularly receive emails from the brands mentioned above, the brands mentioned here, or any major brands, it's best to stay on the safe side and be extra vigilant until more information becomes available.

(Security Week via Consumerist)

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Black Friday Deals Around the Web

It's Black Friday, that American secular holiday where a bunch of good deals pop up as retailers try to spur consumer interest. But if you aren't planning on freezing outside for a doorbuster sale, where to do your shopping online? Below, ten geek-approved sites for snagging Black Friday deals.

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Best Buy CEO: iPad Cutting into Laptop Sales by 50%

According to Best Buy Chief Executive Brian Dunn, Apple's iPad is eating up to 50% of PC laptop sales.

Consumers aren't just buying up iPads left and right as an alternative to Mac laptops, as the iPads are equally cutting into Windows laptop sales as well. Due to this, Best Buy plans to expand its iPad distribution to every one of its stores that does not yet carry the Apple tablet, clearly displaying the sales prominence of the gadget. Chief electronics analyst for NPD Group Inc., Stephen Baker, says the market is trending differently now with mobile devices on the rise.

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Best Buy and Target Begin Used Game Trade-Ins

Not long after THQ announced its war on used game buyers, both Best Buy and Target announced they'll be starting their own used game trade-in programs. Both programs are similar in scope, but differ in details.

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Best Buy to Launch Tablet

Robert Stephens, Best Buy's chief technology officer and founder of the Geek Squad, has tweeted two pictures of what appears to be a Rocketfish tablet!

CrunchGear notes that the device appears to resemble early images of the HP Slate, and is probably "in the 9-inch range." No hardware specifications just yet, but Stephens noted in early July that the company was working on an Android 2.2 tablet. Is this the fabled one he speaks of?

Larger images after the break. (CrunchGear)

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Thanks, but no Thanks: Best Buy Will “Install” Red Dead Redemption For You

Protip: It is probably not worth paying someone to install a video game -- even Red Dead Redemption! -- assuming you are capable of placing the game on the disc tray, hitting 'on,' and awaiting further rudimentary instructions.

We hope, as seems likely enough, that these "Let Us Install It" stickers are holdovers from a techier security box, as sometimes happens at Best Buy, and that whether or not it they are, no one took them up on it. But you never know...

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