Meta Abandons Original Quest VR Headset
The original Oculus Quest was still using aging technology when it debuted in 2019, though Meta has now decided to end support for the device. Photo: Slaven Vlasic (Getty Images)
With just one iteration to go, Meta has declared that its first Meta Quest VR headset will get no more love or TLC.
In an email sent to users of Meta Quest 1 and later posted on Twitter, the company explained how it will drop support for its original, cheaper virtual reality device. More importantly, the device will no longer receive content updates in the future. Until 2024, the device will have no more bug fixes or security fixes.
In particular, users will no longer have important functionality. Although Meta promised you’ll still be able to use the headset and its installed games and apps, Quest 1 users will no longer be able to join parties and will also lose access to Meta’s Horizon Home features product on March 5 of this year. Users will no longer be able to invite others to their homes or travel to another user’s home.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced what was originally called the Oculus Quest in 2018 as the premiere wireless VR headset. The company released the headset in 2019 (so Meta is a little disappointed in their letter when they said they launched the device “more than four years ago”), and that was all before Meta officially rebranded its various devices and services in 2021. So the Quest 1 is running off of four-year-old technology, and it would make sense why Meta wouldn’t want to support outdated hardware.
Meta Quest 2 is billed as a budget, entry-level VR headset, but it was Meta trying to build support for their entire “metaverse” concept while operating at a loss, a strategy that ultimately bit them in the rear in last year’s T3. Meta then introduced price hikes for the Quest 2, raising costs to $399 for its 128GB version and $499 for its 256GB edition.
The original Quest debuted for $399 for a 64GB version and $499 for its 128GB rendition, but you can easily find cheaper versions still selling for much cheaper online. It just means there will be a less expensive headset on the market, and there doesn’t seem to be any new releases to replace it.
The end of support for Quest 1 means that entry-level VR will become much more expensive for the average person. Pico, which is owned by TikTok parent company ByteDance, announced its $425 and $499 headphones last year, but the company was absent from CES 2023 and we still have no word on US release plans. Beyond that, there’s been a bit of a push for more budget-friendly VR lately. Meta has its own $1,499 Quest Pro, which it released last year to mixed reviews. This year, HTC launched its $1,099 VIVE XR Elite mixed reality headset, which Gizmodo got to try out at CES.
And, of course, there’s Sony and the PlayStation VR2. The company had these headphones ready to demo at CES, but scheduling difficulties meant that Gizmodo didn’t get a chance to demo the device. We’ll just have to see what happens with Sony’s $549.99 headset when it finally comes out in February.