Facebook entered the VR market with the purchase of Oculus VR Inc back in 2014. At the time, the Oculus Rift was the king of VR headsets and can be credited for kickstarting the trend of virtual reality gaming and media consumption. However, VR headsets were priced well out of reach for the average consumer as not only were the headsets themselves quite expensive but they also required being tethered to powerful PC hardware. That’s why Facebook’s standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go, and more importantly the Oculus Quest, have really taken off among consumers. The Oculus Go, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, is now being discontinued.
In late 2017, Facebook launched the Oculus Go in partnership with Xiaomi. It was a decidedly entry-level standalone VR headset supporting only 3 degrees of freedom (3DoF) and having a 5.5″ LCD with 1280×1440 per eye, up to 72Hz refresh rate, and a 2600mAh battery for up to 2 hours of gaming or 2.5 hours of video playback. It was followed-up by the Oculus Quest, which was superior in pretty much every way including in the display (OLED display with 1440×1600 resolution per eye), a faster processor (the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835), active cooling, and 6 degrees of freedom. Additionally, an even better Oculus Quest model is reportedly launching by the end of the year with features such as a 90Hz refresh rate, which could bring down the price of the current Oculus Quest. Because of this, there’s little room for the Oculus Go, so Facebook is ending sales of the VR headset this year. What’s more is that the company won’t release any more VR headsets with 3DOF.
You’ll still be able to continue using the Oculus Go if you own one already, and it will continue to receive bug fixes and security updates through 2022 after which the device will reach end-of-life (EOL) status. Developers will not be able to submit any new apps or app updates for the device after December 4, 2020, and new apps won’t be published to the store after December 18, 2020. Updates from that point onwards will not include any new features, sticking strictly to bug fixes and security updates as we just mentioned. If you’re looking to buy one now, you might be interested in checking out the Oculus Quest instead, which is a better and more complete device anyway.
New Way to Distribute Apps
In addition to discontinuing the Oculus Go, Facebook is also announcing that they’re working on an easier way for developers to distribute Oculus Quest apps outside of the Oculus Store. In 2021, developers will be able to share their apps to anyone with a Quest without the need for sideloading or being accepted into the Oculus Store. Facebook does not have any details to share yet on how this will work but they’re making this announcement so developers will have time to adapt their apps to target the Quest.