Meta is shutting down one of its biggest VR games but only for Quest 1 owners
Around the same time Meta hiked up the price on its Quest 2 headsets, it also announced that it’s ending Quest 1 support for Population One, a popular battle-royale shooter set in virtual reality. BigBox VR, the Meta-owned developer behind the game, shared the update in a post on its blog, noting that Quest 1 owners will no longer be able to launch or play the game starting October 31st, 2022.
BigBox VR says the shutdown is necessary so it can focus on developing new experiences “that will push the boundaries of multiplayer VR.” Quest 1 players can still technically play the game if they have a VR-ready PC, however. The game supports cross-buy, which makes the PC version available via Air Link and Oculus Link. This should let users play Population: One by connecting their Quest 1 headset to their computer (whether wirelessly or with a wired connection). Players using the Quest 2, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Rift S will still have access to the game.
While Meta’s offering Quest 1 owners a refund for Population: One, there’s a catch: you had to have purchased the game from the Quest Store within the past six months. The policy seems kind of unfair for a game that launched on the Quest nearly two years ago and will likely leave a number of players with a game that they can’t even play (unless, of course, they upgrade to the now-$399 Quest 2 or use Air / Oculus Link, which requires a pricey VR-ready PC).
Population: One’s shutdown also raises the question of whether other developers will soon ax support for the three-year-old Quest 1. Meta spokesperson Caiti Sullivan said in a statement to The Verge that the company’s 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 will be able to do so.” Meta declined to comment further when asked whether any other games will end Quest 1 support in the near future.
I know that games can’t support every older system forever, but doling out a price increase, along with an announcement that will soon leave Quest 1 owners with one less game to play, is like a double punch to the gut. As my colleague Jay Peters points out, Meta could be raising the price of the Quest 2, and perhaps even pushing users towards it, to stem the the losses its virtual reality arm reported in both the first and second quarter of 2022.