Meta is shutting down one of its biggest VR games — but only for Quest 1 owners
Around the same time that Meta increased the price of its Quest 2 headsets, it also announced that it was ending support for Quest 1 for Population one, a popular battle royale shooter set in virtual reality. BigBox VR, the meta developer behind the game, shared the update in a post on his blognoting that Quest 1 owners will no longer be able to launch or play the game as of October 31, 2022.
BigBox VR says the shutdown is necessary so it can focus on developing new experiences “that will push the boundaries of multiplayer VR.” The developers note that you can still play Population: one via Airlink – a feature that lets you play games on your PC wirelessly from your headset – but this means you’ll have to buy the game again on Steam if you haven’t already. Players using the Quest 2, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Rift S will still be able to access the game.
While Meta offers owners of Quest 1 a refund for Population: one, there’s a catch: you had to buy the game from the Quest Store within the last six months. The policy seems rather unfair for a game that launched on the Quest nearly two years ago and will likely leave some players with a game they can’t even play (unless of course they upgrade to the now $399 Quest 2 or use Air Link , which requires an expensive VR-ready PC).
Population: one‘s shutdown also raises the question of whether other developers will soon end support for the three-year-old Quest 1. Meta spokesperson Caiti Sullivan said in a statement to The edge that the company is currently “working out the details of an ecosystem-wide end-of-support process,” and that “other developers who choose to end support for apps on Quest 1 may do so.” Meta declined to comment further on whether other games will end support for Quest 1 in the near future.
I know games won’t be able to support every older system forever, but handing out a price increase along with an announcement that Quest 1 owners will soon have to play one less game is like a double punch to the stomach. As my colleague Jay Peters points out, Meta could increase the price of the Quest 2, and perhaps even push users towards it, to stem the losses its virtual reality arm reported in both the first and second quarter from 2022.