MARVEL Powers United VR (2018) and other Oculus Rift exclusives developed by Sanzaru Games are officially going offline next March.

Marvel Powers United VR, Ripcoil (2016), and VR Sports Challenge (2016) are no longer available for purchase or download, however Oculus says current owners can continue playing through March 1st, 2021.

After that date, the company tells Road to VR that it’s making the entirety of Marvel Powers United VR and Ripcoil inaccessible, which also includes any single-player content. Oculus suggests uninstalling the games afterwards “to avoid dead space taken up on your device.” It’s uncertain if the same is true for VR Sports Challenge, as it’s a single-player collection of minigames with no online play component.

If you purchased any of those games, it’s important to note that refunds are not automatic. Users need to reach out to Oculus Customer Support to specifically request a refund for the games.

Update (December 2nd, 2020 – 5:49PM ET): Facebook reached out to clarify that refunds are only available to customers who have purchased within six months of the refund request.

Marvel Powers United VR was no doubt one of the most expensive games to secure as a Rift exclusive—it was featured in the original Rift’s first retail bundle back in 2018—so the decision to take it offline and refund its users couldn’t have been an easy one to make. Considering how the game was rated at launch though, having received middling scores across Metacritic and the Oculus Store itself, it seems the game suffered from the same ailment as all mediocre online VR games, namely inconsistent concurrent user numbers. You could chalk it up to its overall gameplay loop; it was essentially just a super hero-flavored wave shooter.

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And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, when user numbers are consistently low, people tend to not stick around for long before writing off a game entirely. It’s notoriously tough to lure players back once the damage is done and initial opinions are formed, even after multiple updates and rebalances.

Ripcoil was one of Sanzaru’s first VR games, arriving alongside VR Sports Challenge (2016) for the launch of Oculus Touch back in December 2016. Ripcoil is a futuristic VR sports game that is a bit like Pong, albeit it in the first person. It’s been long criticized in user reviews as being essentially dead though, and also features a questionably uncomfortable sliding locomotion scheme which may have turned off a good percentage of players from the get-go.

Update (December 2nd, 7:35PM ET): Oculus has confirmed that VR Sports Challenge has also been removed from the store but will continue to be playable indefinitely for existing owners.

In any case, it seems Facebook is cleaning house somewhat following the company’s decision to sunset the Rift hardware platform entirely. Sanzaru Games was acquired by Facebook earlier this year, so purging underperforming first-party Rift content may simply be a cost-savings measure moving forward to a near future dominated by the company’s second standalone headset, Oculus Quest 2.

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  • MosBen

    I get shutting down multiplayer servers, and maybe even taking the game out of the store, but why make the single player non-functional? How does that cut costs for Facebook or otherwise benefit them in any way? Why shouldn’t this be a terrifying action to people that could stop them from buying any digital software from the Oculus store, now that Facebook has shown that they might simply decide to deactivate that software at a later date?

    • Because…..refunds.
      Also…..Terrifying? Hyperbole much?

      • MosBen

        I don’t think that it’s hyperbole, though I could just be wrong. But as someone who owns a Rift and Marvel Powers, it does make me less likely to buy things on that platform. Granted, I’ve also been drifting away from Oculus for a while now as they’ve been increasingly integrated into Facebook, so I may well be an outlier. But I’m also someone who has always been on the pro-digital side of the physical media vs digital games debate, and this is a pretty big mark against digital games.

        As I said, unless I’m missing something (and I might be!) there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to Oculus/Facebook in rendering the single player portion of the game inert. Taking it off the store or taking down multiplayer servers makes sense if there aren’t sales/players to support it, but why not allow people to play the game that they bought on the hardware that they own? And now that we know that this is how Facebook approached this particular situation, why wouldn’t we be at least somewhat more concerned that they might do this with other games down the line, especially since it’s not particularly clear why they did it this time?

        Again, maybe there is some explanation or piece of information which makes this totally make sense, and I’m open to changing my position, but it sure seems pretty needlessly shitty to me.

        • Rogue Transfer

          From recent history over the last couple years, we’ve seen how quick Facebook have closed various VR stores/services(E.g. GearVR, Oculus Go, Rift Movies, Oculus friends, Oculus accounts).

          It seems possible that they are considering how to sunset the Rift PC platform and testing the waters for refund request amounts by removing these games.

          I doubt the Oculus PC platform will last much into 2023, once they stop official support of Oculus accounts. Expect announcements nearer the date, as they have plans to replace it with a Quest tab in the near future, on standalone devices. Another sign that the PC side will be trimmed down before eventual sunsetting of it, as Quest 2 gets more fleshed out titles.

          • MosBen

            I think that this is probably right. Rather than just allow the Rift scene to dry up on its own over a few years they want to close up shop and are trying to figure out how pissed off that will make people. If I were them, I’d send everyone who has a registered Rift or Rift S an email explaining what they’re doing and why (they’re shifting their focus onto Quest 2), but providing a $25 gift card to use in the Quest store as a consolation.

      • MosBen

        And having looked at other people’s posts, it seems like they’re not being very forthcoming with the refunds. So, yeah, it seems pretty shitty.

      • Lonk

        Are you kidding? You bought a game over 6 months ago and now it’ll be taken away from you with no chance to refund because FB feels like it? Terrifying is right, this sets a very dangerous precedent.

        I’ve been moving away from the oculus store for a while now because FB integration and this is pretty much telling me I shouldn’t give them another cent.

    • No Spam

      Marvel United’s producer posted to a Reddit thread to clarify that the single player game was actually a multiplayer mode with a single player + bots. Everything still communicated back to the server.

      There’s no way to maintain the single player game on Marvel when the server is shut off. Rearchitecting or reskinning would be too costly – if I remember, he said the resources would be better used to make a new game.

  • Rob Farthing

    Why didn’t they wait for the userbase to grow or port to the Quest?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Uhm, grow on a game which has it’s users going away? I do agree on the porting it to the Quest, that would get extra attention, BUT, maybe that’ll cost a lot of money as it’s a marvel license which probably has been granted for only one platform/game.

      • Sven Viking

        There shouldn’t be any license issues for Ripcoil, though. Facebook owns the studio and IP.

        • No Spam

          I really wonder if somehow Sanzaru’s server farm or architecture is the problem. I’ve been through an acquisition, and we were forced to relocate our servers to the new company’s data center.

          It was incredibly painful and time consuming, because the back end was never designed to be cross-cloud and had a ton of dependencies that weren’t supported in the new environment.

          Facebook is exactly the kind of company that would force consolidation of servers into its own infrastructure, then realize after a cost/benefit analysis that it’s not worth updating all the code to make it happen. Shutting it down is cheaper, easier, and faster.

          • guest

            Yes, its always a cloudy future for internet dependencies, always will be, regardless of 5G, 6G, 7G …

  • Felix Jeske

    They refused my refund request cuz I bought it in 2018. I don’t care how long I’ve owned it, if they pull it, they owe me a refund.

    • ken

      same here

    • Felix Jeske

      Maybe changing their minds?

      Harsh (Oculus Support)

      Dec 2, 2020, 9:53 PST

      Hi Felix,

      Thank you for contacting Oculus Support.

      We
      are going to look into investigating this more thoroughly and will
      require more time to look into possible options available to you.

      Thank
      you for your extended patience and understanding, we will do our best
      to get back to you with more information or an update as soon as
      possible.

      Kind regards,

      HarshP

      Oculus Support | Facebook Reality Labs

      • Jim P

        Meaning if the lawyers say the consumer has any legal action we will give the money back.

      • Tailgun

        What was the framework for your refund request, if I may ask?

    • BillyBoi

      Same… I just threatened legal action

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You really think they care you threatened legal action?

        • BillyBoi

          What do you propose? Sit on my thumbs and say oh well?

        • MosBen

          Of course they do. Not because they think that they’ll lose, but because everything is a cost/benefit analysis. Do they want to deal with a bunch of annoyed former customers bringing individual law suits or a class action, or do they want to offer people something to mollify them? And keep this somewhat odd and shitty story in the news any longer than it should? Maybe they’ll decide to go that route and tell everyone in our position to screw off. Or maybe they’ll decide to give refunds to everyone. Or maybe they’ll find some middle ground that will make people less annoyed enough to make it all go away. But obviously nothing will happen if everyone just rolls over and accepts it without complaining.

      • MeowMix

        Same… I just threatened legal action

        careful. Threatening legal action towards these uber mega companies usually will render your support tickets to Support Purgatory; they’ll forward you to their legal department if you require any future assistance.

        • Mitch Buz Stringer

          In the UK we can take them to small claims court, this only costs £25 and is claimed back from the other side if you win.

          most of time big companies will just issue a refund as it’s cheaper to do that, than fly their big-shot $500 an hour lawyer to court to try and win a £90 case.

          if you lose your case you are only down £25, even having their lawyers respond to the court summons cost more than the case is worth.

          if they don’t show up you win by default.

      • Popin

        Too bad you don’t have a leg to stand on having agreed to this eventuality with the terms of your license agreement.

        • Lonk

          fortunately EULA’s aren’t legally binding

          • Popin

            Too bad I’m not talking about the EULA. I’m talking about the license agreement that you agreed to when purchasing a license to use said game from the store. You know, the legally binding contract you entered into when setting up your store account. Surely you read it?

            https://www.oculus.com/legal/terms-of-service/

    • Jim P

      That’s what happens with non physical property they can just take it away when they want or if someone gets butthurt about a game and gets it taken off the store. . Even when you bought it.

    • johnny

      im with you on this one, they cant just pull the game and not offer refunds to everyone who bought its its some crazy shit and makes me not want to buy content from oculus store again.

  • This right here is the joke and danger of this going digital future.

    • Rogue Transfer

      Which is where the Cloud streaming services will have all the control over the content and not the consumer. They make it out to seem so convenient, but ultimately, consumers will lose control of content to their own devices.

  • Rogue Transfer

    Correction: The company is Facebook. The company Oculus was dissolved back in 2018 and no longer exists. Oculus is a platform ‘from Facebook’, whose users’ account support is now the responsibility of Facebook Inc./Ireland too, since October.

    • MeowMix

      The same semantics apply to ‘STEAM’ (which is Valve).
      Your correction doesn’t add any value to what’s being discussed.

  • Dave Hockey

    It is sad when a Free Social Media Site can sell expensive products and software and render your entire investment unusable including disabling your free Facebook account and not even have to show any valid reason. The do not even state (at least up until a few months ago) on their Oculus website that a valid Facebook account is required in order to use the social and multi-player features. It spent a lot of bucks on Oculus hardware and software and Facebook has essentially rendered my investment worthless. This is a dangerous move against consumer rights in my opinion. When a social media site becomes so universally accepted in every day lives and communications they should be held accountable for their actions and not hide behind the ‘private business’ rule. Think about it, if you make a few posts on your free and compulsory Facebook account that are ruled outside the Facebook ‘Community Standards’ and they suspend your account they will also be suspending all your Oculus activities. What other VR product makes you dependent on holding a Social Media Account in order to use it? I should have bought something else as now we have virtually nothing as of March 2021.

  • Frédéric Ilbaize

    After that Are you all very confident buying new apps on rift store ?

    • Jonathan Winters III

      Nope. Steam only, unless it’s an Oculus store exclusive. Oculus has proven to be merciless in ending both hardware and software, at the drop of a hat. That said, enjoying my Quest 2 immensely, via SteamVR / Oculus link.

  • Alex

    we really need a physical copy option on VR headset… optical disc drive on top of the head ?!?! XD seriously that sucks, I bought games like lone echo and stormland recently… better play these fast :S

  • wowgivemeabreak

    Glad VR Sports Challenge isn’t being taken out of the library. I really like that game and now with my Q2 and Virtual Desktop, I’m playing it quite a bit again. While I got it for free back in 2016 with the Rift touch controller preorder, I’d have been a bit upset had they got rid of it since there is no reason with it being an offline game.

  • MosBen

    As an update, I got the initial “Sorry, we can’t do anything for you” email, responded that I wanted refund all the same, and I just got confirmation that they gave me a refund. So good for them, as it was the right thing to do.