Capping off dwindling interest in the PC side of the VR spectrum, Facebook said today that it will discontinue the Rift product line early 2021 and will no longer build PC-only VR headsets. Though the company says “the Rift platform isn’t going anywhere,” it’s clear the Quest is its primary focus.

While Facebook is pitching Quest 2 as a great PC VR headset (thanks to Oculus Link which allows it to tether to a PC), the company is putting the final nail in the coffin for its dedicated PC VR product line, the Oculus Rift.

“We’re going to focus on standalone VR headsets moving forward. We’ll no longer pursue PC-only hardware, with sales of Rift S ending in 2021. That said, the Rift Platform isn’t going anywhere,” the company announced. “In fact, we’ve seen significant growth in PC VR via Oculus Link, and the Rift Platform will continue to grow while offering high-end PC VR experiences like Lone Echo II and Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond well into the future.”

Though the statement paints a picture of new content still in the pipe for the Rift platform, both projects began development several years ago. New content announced today at Facebook Connect is focused entirely on Quest.

SEE ALSO
Oculus Explains Why It Doesn't Think the Time is Right for 'Rift 2' or 'Rift Pro'

After launching its first VR headset, the Oculus Rift, in 2016 and struggling to grow it beyond an enthusiast audience, Facebook eventually launched its first 6DOF standalone headset, Oculus Quest, in 2019. It launched its latest PC VR headset, Rift S, at the time time, but by then the company’s enthusiast base had already begun losing trust that the company saw PC VR as a priority.

If it wasn’t already clear that its interest in Rift was waning, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe’s resignation in late 2018 and the departure of Oculus founder Nate Mitchell a year later surely signaled Facebook’s position.

Since the launch of Quest, Facebook company seems to be very pleased with the traction it has gained, and in announcing Quest 2 today Facebook said it was “doubling down” on Quest and aiming to push VR to an even wider audience with a cheaper price point.

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  • Rogue Transfer

    Just in the year where PC VR had its greatest rise yet, after the launch of Valve’s Half Life Alyx. So, the interest in PC for users is higher than ever and going to grow even more with Reverb G2 to launch soon too – with 100% more pixels than Quest(whereas Quest 2 only has 50% more than Quest).

    The article’s beginning should make it clear that it’s only Facebook’s dwindling interest in PC VR, rather than actual interest in PC VR: “Capping off [Facebook’s] interest in the PC side”. As it stands the article is misleading.

    • Jan Ciger

      The problem is that PC VR is still a tiny market. It is mostly the few enthusiasts that are buying expensive headsets and gaming computers required for it.

      And how many headsets can you sell to them? Most of the enthusiasts own one (or more likely several) already.

      Compare that with $300 headset that doesn’t need a $1500-2000 computer to be tethered to.

      Worse, PC is difficult to monetize because you don’t own the platform.

      Those growth numbers are cool but how many headsets/users is that in absolute numbers? Steam counts has something under 2 million headsets – worldwide! That is less than the number of players playing the top 3 games in Steam charts (Counterstrike, Dota 2 and Player Unknown Battlegrounds). Counterstrike alone was played by 1.3 million people in April.

      So I am not surprised that Facebook is basically abandoning the PC. Even though they are saying that the Rift games and support aren’t going anywhere thanks to the Link I am not optimistic about companies actually keeping to build software for the Rift PC platform long term. Link is all nice and good but compared to the native PC headset it is a clear downgrade due to lower framerate, image compression and higher latency. They will either rather support SteamVR or steer away from VR entirely.

      • Cragheart

        See that the number of Steam connected VR headsets grows exponentially.

        • Nerdelbaum Frink

          1 to 2 to 4 to 16 is growing exponentially, but that doesn’t mean 32 players is going to be a lot, nor that we can necessarily expect 64 after that.

      • Popin

        When will people stop with the stupid notion that PCVR requires a $1500 – $2000 computer? Any current, even entry-level, PC will be VR capable. You can get a GeForce 1650 Super for about $170 which will give you a good VR experience in most games. Sure it’s not going to provide you with a top tier VR experience like with an Index at 144Hz but at the price range of a Quest, the Rift CV1, Rift S or any of the somewhat decent WMR headsets will all perform fine on a current entry level PC. I can easily put together a $500 PC on PC Part Picker that will be VR capable.

    • Gonzax

      It doesn’t make much sense for them to make a pcvr headset when you can have both things with Quest via link. You can have both worlds in one which is good.

      That being said, it’s pretty clear to me they don’t give a damn about pcvr anymore, it’s all about the Quest for them. Next thing will be games, I wouldn’t be surprised if they never make another pcvr game again and all their future games are Quest-only, which would really suck.

  • GunnyNinja

    Looks like Quest 2 has no IPD adjustment. That’s two in a row. Time to divest myself of the Oculus ecosystem.

    • William Mcclumpha

      It does, it’s just three selectable IPD settings instead of a slider this time

      • GunnyNinja

        Not enough for me

        • Nalin

          Same. I am IPD sensitive. Even a few millimeters off can give me headaches after half an hour of play. It’s why I didn’t use the Go much at all and why I skipped out on the Rift S. The Quest was my only option forward and it seems like it will continue to be my only option in the future.

          • Przemo-c

            On CV1 i was very sensitive as well even more on Vive. But with those go,rifts,quest lenses i find it way more forgiving. To the point i’ve intentionally used wider IPD 68 instead of 64 to get more FOV. What’s more worriesome for users with higher IPD is that they will have narrower FOV.

  • Cragheart

    Facebook not for me.
    No privacy + no PC headsets? Seriously? Ofc I won’t give them any money.

  • johann jensson

    Haha… Trying to still push low-res HMDs like the Rift S or Valve Index in 2020, and then they wonder about “dwindling interest” on the PC side. Good one.

    Yup, the lack of games and the low res offerings (and some other downsides) caused serious “dwindling interest” on my side as well. I’m selling my Rift S, and my new 34″ 21:9 monitor is offering very similar immersion, but with far far better graphics. I’m glad i’m out of that eye cancer territory, at least until VR gets games like The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey etc.

    • Bob Smith

      Witcher 3 and AC are both fully playable in 3D with VorpX.

      • johann jensson

        I know, i used my Rift S with VorpX 95% of the time. But not all games are supported, and not all games are supported well. For example the stereo 3D of TW3 was excellent, but the same cannot be said for AC: Origins or Watch_Dogs.

        Playing PC games in VR/stereo3D has always been my dream. But i grew tired of the effort and all the constraints after a full year of regular use.

    • Rosko

      You get similar immersion from a widescreen monitor to VR? That just doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean don’t get me wrong i have a nice widescreen monitor & i like it very much but it’s nothing like vr at all.

      • johann jensson

        The reason could be that everybody gets immersion differently. [shocker!]

        I get similar immersion even from a book. The content has just to be good enough. That’s were VR can’t deliver for me, after over a whole year of owning a Rift S. The only games i found worth of my time were Lone Echo and HL: Alyx. Even a game like Jedi: Fallen Order played in VorpX managed to easily dethrone HL:A for my GOTY 2020. So much for immersion, LOL…

        • Rosko

          I must have have a lack of imagination.

  • wheeler

    If LE2 comes to Steam as well, all of this taken together would basically be FB saying “here Valve, PCVR enthusiasts are your problem now”. Imagine investing 10s of millions into a AAA VR exclusive and then just saying “whatever, let gabe have 30%”

    • Max Derevenskih

      Why not? Alyx is for Oculus too.

    • Przemo-c

      And let us have the rest 70% on market that wasn’t served by us previously.

  • Sharpe

    They launched a product (Rift S) that was barely better then the previous generation and then cite dwindling sales as a reason to focus on standalone VR?

    Meanwhile the internet is abuzz with people talking about all the shortcomings they put into the Quest 2 that make it an even more inferior product then first gen Rift?

    The market keeps moving backwards in quality but the price stays the same?? 299$ for a quest is the same as the 300 I paid for a Rift before the Rift S came out.

    Then there is the oculus exclusive store (which isn’t – they ended up releasing Moss and Vader Immortal on PSVR after it was supposed to be an exclusive) the required upgrade to Windows 10 to continue using their software…

    This is like Firefly all over again.

    • Rosko

      Moss was out of PSVR first.

  • LANFEUST DAYTONA

    I’m very disapointed too, it’s a bit sad for the PC VR community.
    The RTX 3000 cards are coming at a decent price and PC gamers are more every day and what about Raytracing in VR ? With a QUEST ? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ?
    Hope the FB (OCULUS) LINK will be efficient soon !
    LONE ECHO 2 is definitly lost in SPACE and nobody hears us screaming…

  • johann jensson

    It’s almost as bad as Rift S.

  • johann jensson

    2560×1440 w- narrow FOV vs 2880×1600 spread over Index FOV –> Thanks for the confirmation. Almost the same PPD, in practical terms.

    And yes, the G2 Reverb is a game changer that renders all previous headsets “low res”.

    But i’m not really interested in arguing. Believe what you want, it’s your choice after all.

  • Tabp

    Told you so. Everyone who denied they’d do this back when the Rift S came out has been told. This move may be bad for technological competition, but it could be a good thing overall, since PC VR doesn’t need mandatory Facebook logins. Now that Facebook has banished themselves to the low end, long live SteamVR. If Valve ever learns how to make a thumbstick we’ll be all set.

    • Rosko

      It’s a shame steamVR is a steaming pile of poo. Valve need to pull their finger out although i suspect they are losing interest in the pc vr market too.

  • Mike

    Why does it seem like PC users are in denial? I’m a PC only user myself. The PC gaming market shrunk in 2020 in comparison to other gaming platforms. And it’s projected to shrink again next year. If you look at the majority of data, it’s not growing… Having a device that is a hybrid for mobile and PC allows PC users to benefit from the massive revenue of mobile.

    Even consoles, while the market grew some, it almost looks stagnant compared to the massive growth of mobile. Even Steam will eventually shift their market to mobile. They tiptoed in that direction with Steam Link.

    • crim3

      VR is simulation for me. And simulation means PC. If the market doesn’t want PCVR and it ends up disappearing that will be the end of my gaming days. I understand I’m in a minority though.

  • Wow. Mobile chips will improve, but they’ll always lag compared to how much tech you can pack into a giant PC box. And the type of experiences you can create on a PC today will take decades for mobile to have enough power to provide. The fact Facebook is just giving up on ALL of those possibilities speaks volumes. They just declared they don’t feel the quality of the visual experience (graphics) is important to what they want VR to do. They’re content with cutesy cartoon avatars in cutesy limited-poly worlds. If anything, Oculus originally seemed like they were constrained by the power of current **PC’s** – they wanted to reach higher, but knew not everyone could afford the latest GPU. But this? Facebook has entirely killed that vision for VR. They aren’t even trying for it. This is exactly the problem with Facebook buying Oculus.

    I guess if there’s a bright side, this creates a huge opportunity for PC VR companies to step up and provide those AAA level experiences that Facebook seems not to care about. Except the bigger danger is, if Facebook continues their current grip on the VR market, this could vastly reduce the number of potential customers for any such AAA experiences, and make it that much harder for any developers to attempt (or get funding for) projects targeting that high end.

    • Przemo-c

      Thing is this is not drop pure PCVR for pure standalone. It’s drop pure PCVR for standalone with PCVR capability. I don’t like it. I think there’ll be less competition on the PCVR market but when it comes to PC they are betting on Link bridging the gap. If they will entirely exit PCVR market i’m not sure. If it’s just the momentum of already invested cash or is it keeping close to both realms of VR.

      So i think for now it’s just for a hybrid device. Can play stadalone, Can play PCVR. And i’m fine with such solution but i’d like to have a removable battery so when playing PCVR i’m not getting cons that are there because of standalone.

      • crim3

        I think we’ve already been through quite a few of these “but no, things will still be the same” with FB since they bought Oculus. They have a plan, and it isn’t the old-Oculus’ plan, and it is unfolding in front of our eyes as years go by.

    • Pablo C

      Once foveated rendering becomes a thing, GPU power will stop to be that relevant.

      • crim3

        That will allow to push the realism of the graphics at higher resolutions and higher refresh rates. You can’t never have enough GPU. You can’t never have enough computing power.

        • Pablo C

          Yes, but, while eye candy is limitless, the market is not. That´s why the RTXs are still niche. So PCVR might become the niche of the niche, non afordable for many of us that currently can afford it.

  • johann jensson

    Haha, the last multiplayer game that was fun enough to get me hooked was Unreal Tournament 4. It took the best from Q3A and UT and felt perfect in movement and weapon mechanics. And… Epic cancelled it.

    These days if a game doesn’t provide some experience (not gimmicks or technical achievements) that i will remember for the next years, it’s just not worth my time.

  • Mike

    I’m using the survey of the majority of sources as the main source. I typed into Google “gaming market growth segments”, switched the Images tab, and surveyed the majority of sources for worldwide gaming market. The PC gaming market itself *is* growing slightly each year. However, its share of the gaming market is slowly shrinking. If gaming was personal income, PC gaming would be like an average guy, console gaming would be an ivy league graduate, and mobile gaming would be Elon Musk circa 2015. All three are growing their income each year. But some are growing more than others. And the average guys income share is actually shrinking in comparison to the ivy league graduate and Elon Musk. Depressing.

    I agree that PC gaming has always been the best gaming. The problem is its ease of use/setup/maintenance for the average person is low. The same reason why non-nerds prefer Macbooks. PC gaming will never die, but it will be niche.

  • johann jensson

    I don’t play MP games anymore – it’s boring to me. Except if they have mind-blowing graphics, an impressive story, interesting characters and tonnes of exploration. “The Division” was nice, but constantly losing progress when my internet line dies again was the nail in the coffin.

  • Pablo C

    Is this move considering future foveated rendering? I wonder if, that tech well optimized, could actually deliver great enough graphics on mobile, to the point that PC VR becomes almost irrelevant.

    • crim3

      Whatever you can do on mobile hardware running on a battery, you can do 10,000 more on a desktop computer. Both worlds are more likely to co-exist because of the different advantages that both offer.

      • Pablo C

        There is a point where higher graphics are no longer relevant though (for the price), so of course PC VR might still exist, but as the niche of the niche, way reduced in numbers compared to what it is now, and then, way more expensive.

  • Dick Massive

    Nobody cares, Facebook.
    G2 is out soon and blows away anything you have in your product range, AND you don’t need a Facebook spying account forced on you.
    PCVR will only get better, Facebook VR will only get more intrusive, and lemmings will still buy it.

  • Press F to pay respects

  • Onyx Blue

    We could not be happier to see Facebook out of the high end VR space. The PC is the “go to” place for transformative VR experiences. If Facebook wants to re-sell to the “mobile” market- good luck. It is trivialising one of the most important technological advancements in decades.

    I have witnessed VR at its absolute best- and it is beyond amazing. Underpowered and underperforming “Stand alone HMDS with poor refresh rates, mediocre user experience and a limited shelf life.

    Remember -You can upgrade your PC. You cannot upgrade that stand-alone HMD. A HMD should be considered a “display”peripheral. What is driving that display and the quality of that display- makes all the difference.

    Would rather splash out some cash for REAL VR- with solid foundations, than a cheap and nasty HMD.

    Facebook would do well by saying – “we are trying to capture youth markets” or people who would not know any better.