Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus will end the sale of the Rift S title next spring. To focus on the standalone Oculus Quest 2, which can also be connected to a computer via Oculus’ Link feature, the PC-based VR device is being retired.
Prabhu Parthasarathy, product manager for Quest 2, describes the launch of Quest 2 as “the right moment to move into a single title”. Using a USB-C cable to support PC VR games on Quest, Link was experimentally released for the original Quest in 2019. This feature will be out of beta later this year and will make the Quest 2 a dual-purpose headset, officially priced at $ 299 overseas.
Quest 2 will be connected to computers via the same Oculus app as Rift. Parthasarathy says Oculus will continue to support PC-based virtual reality as a different platform than the standalone Quest system. This includes supporting Rift for the near future. Parthasarathy says, “The Old Rift is something people continue to use and enjoy.” says. Unlike the new Quest 2, which requires Facebook login, Rift S will continue to support login with a non-Facebook Oculus account until 2023.
Last year Facebook introduced Quest as its primary VR headset. He left the Rift S out of upgrades such as controllerless hand tracking. Oculus has been thinking that the Rift series is the “gold standard” for playing high-end PC games for years. However, the Rift S, the successor to the original 2016 Oculus Rift, came with some compromises, including non-focus lenses. Facebook recently dropped the Oculus Go title, so Rift’s retirement is not surprising.
Whatever happens, an era is closing. Kickstarter supporters launched a boom for virtual reality headsets at the individual consumer level by donating about $ 2.5 million to the original Oculus Rift prototype in 2012. Facebook bought the Oculus in 2014 and turned the Rift into a high-end device that competes with Valve and HTC’s Vive headset and Sony’s PlayStation VR.
The paths of these companies have been different since 2016. HTC addresses the specialty and business markets with its Vive Pro system, but it also produces the Cosmos headset for home gaming. Last year Valve released its own PC VR gold standard, the $ 999 Index header. Sony started strong early sales of its PSVR, offering little details about a new title that could work with the upcoming PlayStation 5.
Meanwhile, Oculus has released a series of titles experimenting with different forms and feature sets. This included the Samsung Gear VR, a plastic shell that fits around the smartphone to achieve an inexpensive mobile VR headset, and the Oculus Go, a fully standalone headset that doesn’t contain motion controllers or allow users to roam. The Rift was launched with an Xbox controller, but soon added full-fledged motion controllers called Oculus Touch, followed by the HTC Vive.
Originally announced as “Santa Cruz” in 2017, Quest presented what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “the essential qualities of the ideal VR system”. It has also been an impetus to make virtual reality cheap and accessible to a mass market; this was a difficult thing to do with a PC-based system. Last year Oculus launched the second-generation Rift, the Rift S, but it was more of a self-contained, full-generation crossover that includes essential Quest features such as inside-out camera tracking.
The retirement of the Rift S could push some PC VR enthusiasts to Valve Index, HTC Vive Cosmos or the upcoming HP Reverb G2 headsets. These headers do not require Facebook integration and have unique advantages such as Valve’s “knuckles” controllers and Reverb G2’s high resolution display.
However, Facebook is confident in the fact that these devices are much more expensive and will not offer access to the apps and content showcase Oculus owns. Parthasarathy says, “We think Quest 2 is the best of both worlds when it comes to VR experiences.” says.