What just happened? Meta's Oculus Quest 2 is an incredibly popular device among fans of virtual reality, having sat atop the Steam survey's VR headset chart for many months. Now, Facebook's parent company has revealed it is calling time on the predecessor, the original Oculus Quest VR, which will stop receiving new software updates and can no longer use certain social features.
The first Oculus Quest headset arrived in May 2019. Unlike its successor, the headset has only a tiny user share (2.63%) in the VR section of the Steam survey, and Meta has just given its users more reasons to upgrade.
As per The Verge, Meta has been sending out emails informing owners of the original Oculus Quest that the company won't be delivering new features to the headset, and users will no longer be able to create or join a party. Additionally, users who currently have access to Meta Horizon Home's social features will no longer be able to access them from March 5, 2023; they won't be able to invite others to their Home or visit someone else's home.
Meta did include a couple of positive points in the email, though they're unlikely to placate people: owners will still be able to use the headset and available apps, and the company will continue to release critical bug fixes and security patches until 2024.
The original Quest is definitely showing its age when compared to the Meta Quest 2. The former is powered by the Snapdragon 835 / Kryo 280 chipset that arrived in 2017, two years before the headset came out, while the Quest 2 uses the AR/VR-specific Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 from 2020.
The Quest 2 continues to dominate in the Steam survey with a 41.35% user share, meaning almost half of all participants who own a VR headset are using Meta's device.
The writing has long been on the wall for the aging headset. Meta subsidiary BigBox VR announced it was ending Quest 1 support for battle royale shooter Population One in July. Meta will also want to focus on its newer headsets, including last year's $1,500 Quest Pro, designed for metaverse-focused developers, and the upcoming Quest 3. It appears that declining headset sales aren't a concern for the social media giant.