It took a little bit, but the Rift S is no longer available on the Oculus website, having vanished without a direct successor to a dedicated PC VR headset. Those duties have been handed off to the Quest 2, a standalone headset (the hardware is built in) that can also be tethered to a PC.
It was only a matter of time, really. Facebook announced in April of this year that it would not be sending more Rift S units to retailers—once they sold out, that was it for the Rift S.
“Rift S is still available for sale currently in some channels around the world, but as we announced last year, we plan to stop selling Rift S in 2021,” Facebook told EuroJournal at the time. “Generally speaking, as channels sell out of stock, they won’t be replenished.”
A visit to the Wayback Machine indicates the Rift S became unavailable at the Oculus site sometime in May. Oculus still maintains a Rift S product page, but when visiting the ‘compare’ section, only the Quest 2 has a ‘Buy Now’ button.
We have mixed feelings about this. In all reality, the Quest 2 is the best VR headset for most people, and compared to the Rift S, it offers a higher resolution display, faster refresh rate, and more flexibility. However, the Quest 2 requires a Facebook login.
That is a deal killer for some people, and it didn’t help that Facebook recently started testing ads in Oculus games. This was not received well by the public—Resolution Games, the developer behind the first game (Blaston) to incorporate ads, backed out out of the program following a review bombing campaign that resulted from the in-game ads.
Interestingly, the Quest 2 had overtaken the Rift S in March as the most popular headset on Steam. A look at the stats now, however, shows the Rift S as being back on top, albeit by less than a full percentage point. Still, as of this moment, the Rift S is the most widely used headset for PC VR gaming on Steam.
If you were hoping for a direct successor to the Rift S, unfortunately it doesn’t look like there is going to be one. In reaction to the news that Facebook was moving on from the Rift S, Palmer Luckey, who left Facebook in 2017, said on Twitter that a Rift 2 project was “cancelled shortly before going into production and then cancelled again in favor of a much lower spec Lenovo rebadge.”
It is the end of an era, in a sense. The Rift S replaced the original Rift, which played a huge roll in popularizing VR following a highly successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter—it attracted nearly $2.5 million in pledges in 2012, making it the most funded project at the time. Then a couple of years later, Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion.
What does the future of VR hold? That’s a good question. Andrew Bosworth, vice president of Facebook Reality Labs, said a few months ago that right now, a Quest 3 is not in development. It may materialize at some point, but not before a Quest Pro, which itself is “a little ways off still.”
“For those who are curious, Quest 2 is going to be in the market for a while—for a long while, and it’s gonna be, you know, I think the best bet for the most accessible way to get into VR and have a great experience,” Bosworth said.
So there you have it—the Rift S is retired, and the Quest 2 will carry the VR headset torch at Oculus for the foreseeable future.