Meta is working on ending support for Quest 1
VR studios will get the option to disable app compatibility for Quest 1 - another nail in the coffin for Meta's first standalone VR headset.
Those still playing Meta Quest 1 and regularly diving into Meta's popular battle royal game Population: One received two pieces of bad news in late July.
On July 26, Meta-acquired VR studio Bigbox VR announced on its blog that the top ten game will only be playable with Meta Quest 1 until October 30, 2022. App support for the discontinued model will be retroactively disabled - a first in Meta's store policy.
On the same day, Meta announced that the price of Meta Quest 2 will increase by a whopping $100. To be fair, this wasn't until August, so those affected still had a few days to switch to the newer and more powerful VR headset at the old price - if they found out about it. The Meta Quest 2 now costs the same as the Oculus Quest 1 did back then.
Meta nudges POP1 fans toward Quest 2
The reason for Quest 1's end of compatibility is understandable: the ever-evolving live service game is slowed down by aging hardware, which is also far less common than Meta Quest 2, which replaced the older VR headset in October 2020.
"We are building big POP1 experiences that will push the boundaries of multiplayer VR. In order to focus our efforts on next-gen features and tech, we’re ending Quest 1 support on October 31, 2022. On Oct 31, Quest 1 players will no longer be able to load or play Population One", the Studio writes.
Those who bought Population: One within the last six months and only own Meta Quest 1 can get a refund. The time limit is somewhat arbitrary, especially since the VR game has been on the market for almost two years.
Fans of the game now have two options: They can upgrade to Meta Quest 2 or play Population: One via PC VR. The game supports cross-buy: If you bought the Quest version, you also own the Rift version.
The soft end of Meta Quest 1
Population: One will probably not remain an isolated case. Meta is currently working on "the details of an ecosystem-wide end-of-support process," a Meta spokeswoman told The Verge. Developers, it adds, will be able to end support for virtual reality apps on Quest 1 if they so choose.
The new store policy will help Meta hasten the end of the three-year-old Meta Quest 1, a move heralded by Quest 2-exclusive games and software features.
Meta Quest 2 could meet the same fate in the next two to three years: Quest Pro aka Project Cambria (info) will be released in the upcoming months and by the end of 2023, Meta Quest 3 is expected to replace Meta Quest 2. This is probably what Bigbox VR meant when it talked about "next-gen features and tech".
The transition from Meta Quest 2 to Meta Quest 3 will be a difficult balancing act for Meta, as Quest 2 has sold much better than Quest 1. Meta will want to avoid leaving Quest 2 owners behind too quickly, and will need to create the right incentives for switching to Meta Quest 3 over time.