The Oculus Rift S is Being Discontinued, But That Shouldn’t Surprise You
As announced by the social media giant at Facebook Connect, the Oculus Rift S is due to be discontinued next Spring, effectively ending the line of VR headsets that kickstarted the VR revolution back in 2012. But, if you’ve been following Facebook-owned Oculus for the past few years, that shouldn’t really come as a surprise. In fact, the writing has been on the wall since the release of the original Oculus Quest in 2019.
The Oculus Rift was a hugely popular headset when it was released back in 2016, selling out near-instantly, and fans welcomed the raft of upgrades like inside-out tracking and improved visual quality that came with the Rift S, especially at the lower end of the PC VR market. But, the Rift S still needs a high-end PC to play VR games and experiences, and that’s a barrier for a lot of people.
One big clue about Oculus’ future plans was the introduction of hand-tracking; despite the Oculus Rift S and the original Quest sharing the same inside-out tracking, Oculus made the decision to not bring the functionality to what many considered to be its hero product. Surely PC VR users would also want the option to interact with the VR interface without the need for controllers?
However, that wasn’t the biggest clue. That goes to the introduction of Oculus Link, functionality that lets you hook the Oculus Quest up to your PC and use it to play PC VR titles. It has been a gamechanger for VR fans, allowing them to enjoy the freedom of standalone VR while also having the option of playing high-end VR games like Half-Life: Alyx on the PC without buying a second headset, the only issue up until now was the limited resolution and refresh rate compared to its PC counterpart.
That is of course set to change with the release of the Quest 2, with its improved resolution and enhanced 90Hz refresh rate, and the news that Oculus Link is due to come out of beta too. It’s being framed as the all-in-one headset for casual and hardcore VR users, and Oculus is betting on that style of headset being the future of virtual reality. It’s also cheaper than the Rift S and most other VR headsets on the market that lack standalone functionality, making it an even more tempting option for curious consumers. You can find out more in our full Oculus Quest 2 review.
That’s not to say that your Rift S will suddenly stop working; Oculus has confirmed that it’ll continue to support the Oculus Rift S for some time, complete with new features and experiences. Even when Oculus decides to stop updating the Rift S, there’s a vast collection of VR content available on PC via the likes of Oculus and Steam, so you’ll still have plenty of games and experiences to enjoy.
But, with all that in mind, there isn’t much reason to buy an Oculus Rift S right now, so it makes sense for Oculus to call it a day on selling the main Rift S line in Spring 2021.