Meta Quest to get new PC VR client without Rift support - rumor
There is a rumor that Meta will release a new PC VR platform specifically for Meta Quest later this year. It would be about time.
When you use Meta Quest 2 on a PC via Quest Link, you automatically switch to the outdated Rift interface that appeared at the end of 2017 (!) under the name Oculus Dash. A rather inelegant stopgap that makes you wish for a native Quest interface and lacks important features like hand tracking and mixed reality. But that could change.
VR YouTuber Thrillseeker claims to have heard that Meta is planning to release an entirely new and modernized PC VR program specifically designed to work with Quest devices. It is expected to be released between July and September 2023.
The current Rift PCVR software will become deprecated as a new PC client that does not support Rift and Rift S is introduced around July-Sept 2023 (RUMOR(pretty strong one))
— 𝙏𝙝𝙧𝙞𝙡𝙡 (@Thrilluwu) February 3, 2023
The new program is said to not support the PC-only Oculus Rift (2016) and Oculus Rift S (2018) VR devices. Meta will discontinue official hardware support around that time, Thrillseeker writes, citing unnamed sources.
Meta stresses importance of PC VR
The Rift product line was discontinued in 2021. On SteamVR, the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Rift have 13 percent and 5 percent of the SteamVR market share, respectively, while Quest devices have a combined 46 percent.
The old PC VR program, Thrillseeker speculates, will likely remain usable, but will no longer receive updates. Not much would change for Rift users. Meta has only been working on Quest Link features for the past few years, not on the program itself.
According to Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth, PC VR is still very important to Meta. Last year, the company released a wireless dongle for Meta Quest 2 that simplifies the entry into PC VR streaming, and is working with Intel on an integrated solution that eliminates the need for a dongle and router.
Meta announced a new PC VR software in 2020
It's long overdue for Meta to improve the PC VR experience on the UI side as well. Back in September 2020, Meta announced a more unified experience that would allow users to view Quest and Rift apps side-by-side and access native Quest features. The integration was supposed to be released in 2021, but it's been a long time coming.
The reason is obvious: Meta has been all about standalone VR since at least 2020. PC VR fans are probably only a fraction of the Quest user base. Accordingly, this category is given little weight internally. One example: PC VR played no role in the last Meta Connect keynote.
Playstation VR 2 could give Meta's PC VR a new boost
The release of Playstation VR 2 could at least partially change Meta's attitude. Sony specializes in high-end VR games, and Meta would do well this year to highlight its fallow PC VR portfolio (Lone Echo 1 & 2, Asgard's Wrath, Stormland, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, and many more) as part of a new PC VR initiative. The release of a new, optimized PC VR UI would be good timing on Meta's part.
I think the likelihood of a new, dedicated PC VR UI being released this year is relatively low: Meta is saving money and has declared 2023 the "year of efficiency." Investing in a niche within a niche isn't efficient.
The future of Meta's high-end VR belongs to cloud streaming anyway, which Meta has been testing for some time. VR analyst Brad Lynch told me, "whenever I've asked my sources about PC VR support, they've just said, 'If there are resources for it, it's purely for the cloud stuff.'"