March 28th 2016 was a special day in the history of virtual reality (VR). It was a day when the technology suddenly re-emerged from the wilderness as a viable consumer medium for devouring entertainment. It was the day that the Oculus Rift CV1 finally arrived on people’s doorsteps offering a wealth of immersive possibilities. The headset celebrated two historic anniversaries yet its third has gone by without as much as a balloon or piece of cake. Like so many revolutionary gadgets before it Oculus Rift has now been superseded, and with that quickly consigned to the history books.
Happy Belated Birthday and Farewell
If you want to buy an Oculus Rift then good luck as you’re now going to struggle. Oculus has been slowly dwindling supplies to such an extent that its own website is now showing ‘out of stock’ for the headset in many countries including the US and UK. Having a quick check on Oculus’ ‘Where to Buy’ tab for the UK, the only site (out of seven) that was listing stock was Argos, retailing the headset for a bargain £349 GBP.
It has been a quick demise for Oculus Rift CV1 in 2019, with no anniversary mention on 28th March due to the Oculus Rift S announcement the week before during the Game Developers Conference (GDC), and then a slew of Oculus Quest launch titles arriving on Wednesday 27th.
Even though support for Oculus Rift CV1 shouldn’t be going anywhere soon, Facebook/Oculus has made sure the cull happened quickly to move customers on to the new headsets when they arrive. Which is in marked contrast to HTC Vive. Last week saw the annual Vive Day celebrations as per normal, bringing out new deals and services like Viveport Infinity and Viveport Video.
Quickly moving on
So it’s time to say goodbye to Oculus Rift before its successor has even arrived. And currently, there’s still no release date for the Oculus Rift S other than ‘Spring 2019′. As the original is getting so hard to find then that should be soon – possibly F8 2019. However, look online and the response to the new design hasn’t exactly gone down well with current users and VR fans in general.
With a ratchet style head strap and inside-out sensors, the Oculus Rift S has been designed to be easier to set up for new customers, doing away with all those external sensors and the need for half a dozen USB ports. The lenses may have improved as well as the LCD screen, yet many feel Oculus hasn’t been radical enough.
Which is why most of the interest is in Oculus Quest. It might not be as powerful with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor onboard but it’s a fully standalone piece of kit that uses the same Oculus Touch controllers as Rift S, there are just no limitations to where you can play.
And now the end is near…
But for all the hype that Facebook will try to create for Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest, it won’t match that excitement three years ago when the dawn of VR videogaming radiated such a tangible amount of anticipation and tension. And let’s not forget all the titles that helped to make it so, original in their own uniqueness. This time it will be a selection of ports and sequels with the odd original title thrown in for good measure. What will the next three years hold?