While Oculus had once supported the Rift on both Mac OSX and Linux with early builds of their SDK, it was back in early 2015 that they indefinitely “paused” support for those platforms. Now Oculus founder Palmer Luckey says that whether or not the Rift supports Mac is “up to Apple” and the performance of the computers they decide to release.

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Speaking to Shacknews during a recent Microsoft event, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said support for the Rift on Mac OSX was a matter of Apple releasing a computer that could handle the performance demanded by the Rift.

“If they ever release a good computer we will [support Mac OSX],” Luckey said. He elaborated, saying that even Apple’s top-end desktop system doesn’t meet the hardware specification set by Oculus for Rift support.

“It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs. You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top-of-the-line AMD FirePro D700 and it still doesn’t match our recommended spec. If they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day… we’d love to support Mac. But right now there’s just not a single machine out there [from Apple] that supports it. So even if we can support on the software side, there’s just no audience of [Mac users] that can run the vast majority of [VR] software out there.”

Luckey is of course speaking of the ‘Oculus Recommended Specification’, which asks for a minimum of Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 GPU (or equivalent), an Intel i5-4590 CPU (or equivalent), 8GB of RAM, along with 3x USB 3.0 ports and 1x USB 2.0 port. Oculus set this bar to allow developers to target a known hardware configuration that’s capable of providing consistent rendering performance in the face of the considerable demands of the Rift (90 FPS in 3D at 2160×1200). The company is working with certain computer partners to certify systems as ‘Oculus Ready PCs’ which meet these specifications while staying under a $1,000 price tag.

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Oculus had supported Mac and Linux intermittently with their SDK throughout the years, but officially “paused” support for those operating systems back in 2015. Oculus has since formed a partnership with Microsoft for purported plug-and-play support for the Rift in Windows 10, as well as Xbox One game streaming in VR.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Zobeid

    I’ve been using nothing but Macs around my house for many years, and I’m on a Mac Pro right now. I guess I’m what you might call a die-hard Mac user. However. . . I’m not going to fight reality on this one. I’ve already ordered a gaming PC with Windows to power a Vive. The Mac will continue to do everything else for me, but when it comes to games and VR, I knew it just didn’t make good sense.

    Mac users have griped for years and years about Apple never producing a reasonably specified mini-tower suitable for gaming. Sad fact is, Apple as a company has no gaming in their DNA or their corporate culture. Steve Jobs didn’t get games, didn’t like games, and his attitude filtered down through the ranks. To the extent that gaming is viable on the Mac today at all, it’s almost entirely due to Valve and Steam, not Apple.

    • Mik Lisiecki

      I’m in the same boat, I don’t really want to buy an additional PC and cringe when I have to use Windows. Hopefully Apple will step it up when they release their VR system and come out with some more powerful computers.

      • Windows isn’t that bad, unless you’re paranoid that one click would have the NSA break down your door and hold you at gunpoint :)

        • Stephen Marshall

          Actually, Windows really is that bad. I used Windows everyday for development work for my day job and I develop apps on a MacBook Air on the side.

          Once you get used to using a Mac, you realize that Windows is a mess.

          I used to be heavily into top end Windows machines with the very best video cards for gaming. Now I have a top of the line computer, that I bought specifically for VR and nothing else.

          • care package

            I’ll never be a MAC person even though I have been impressed with the OS. Expensive and I am forced to play in Steve Jobs’ sandbox. Plus I like to game.

    • ATP

      Exactly the same here. Although I’m still on the fence of buying a dedicated VR-PC.

      Maybe with Tim they change their attitude regarding Nvidia GPU, seeing that gaming on iOS earns them a lot of cash. But also this is Apple, we are talking. And they might get a VR headset out for their phones rather making a VR-Mac …. *sigh*

      • 3Dgerbil

        Nope…. Oculus was a nice promise, but now….. An Oculus-ready PC + Oculus (no touch controllers) sets you at 1.6K$ ; and you have to put a kind of microwave oven in your living room.
        Even if Sony sells it VR device at 700$, you can still get the whole thing for a lot less. Unless you don’t already have a PS4 in your living room, in this case it’s going to be even less. With PS4 you have a decent thing in your living room (that doesn’t sound like a 747), plenty of other games besides VR and no hassles with Windows (wonder what it’s like to get a virus scan prompt on Oculus)

        • care package

          For those who want the best VR has to offer PC VR > SPVR. Sounds like SPVR is right for you. Fan noise is there to reduce heat. Heat is there because it’s using more power. More power is needed for more performance. It’s all a tradeoff.
          PCs also have plenty of other games that aren’t VR, and if you already run a PC in your home, you already deal with hassles of Windows. If you use a MAC, then it sounds like that’s the real reason you are more likely to look at PSVR. That’s obvious. MAC users with PS4s should get the PSVR.

          • 3Dgerbil

            Too bad most PCs sitting in homes aren’t “powerful enough” to use Oculus, so you’ll have to shell out about 300$ for a new graphic card (which is almost a PS4). And too bad that most PCs don’t sit in your living room, and that’s for a reason… just ask MS about their Media Center….

          • care package

            Uuum ok. I’m not sure what your point is and why it’s ‘too bad’. You’re not making much sense.

  • Bugnguts

    Zobeid and gnagyusa. Good news may be in your future. Rumor is apple is working on VR but if this is phone based then no luck. The other hope is with the double node shrink down to 14/16nm for both Nvidia and Radeon, lower power, less heat and cheaper, apple may actually put a powerful enough card in their mac pros. Of course that will be true only if they believe the user should have one.

  • 3Dgerbil

    Palmer Luckey, ship the Ocuus Rift before speaking about the Mac’s power and learn how to write SDKs….. You were the first out there in AR (I was a kickstarter backer) and now you’re going to be almost the last shipping one and with less specs than your competitors (Vive and Sony). Almost every Oculus SDK release broke things and you had to fix a new mess at each round…. May be the Mac “is not powerful enough” because, over there, if you do such indecent things users and developers will rage at you, so better to blame Apple rather than your development team…. For high end stuff beyond Gear VR I’ll probably go PS, developing with Unity on a Mac….. Forget Oculus, it was a nice dream but now it’s bummer…. I just wonder what they did with all the money that Zuckerberg put there: Oculus was the first and the best, now they managed to ship late an inferior product.

  • Barret

    “If they ever release a good computer we will.” Ouch.

  • bobsmith

    What’s the deal with changing his quote in the headline? He said “good” not “high performance”. You can argue that’s what he meant if you want, but then you should paraphrase what he said, rather than quoting him. That’s the whole POINT of a quote … it’s specifically what the person said, not your interpretation.

    • benz145

      People who don’t know as much about VR as you and I could not possibly infer what he meant by “good” in this case, but because we have the longer statements and know a lot about the subject matter, we can help make sure they get the correct meaning.

      The modified segment takes into account the context of the rest of Palmer’s statement to make it clear to the reader what he means within the limited space of a headline. If we didn’t make the modification, the snippet of quote without context would sound as if Palmer was making a value judgement about nebulus goodness or badness of Apple computers, which his full statements make clear is not the case.