The next generation Oculus Rift 2 headset has reportedly been cancelled, with the development lead, and co-founder of Oculus, Brendan Iribe, leaving the company because he wasn’t interested in a “race to the bottom” in terms of VR performance.
The potential cancellation follows the splitting of Facebook’s virtual reality development into separately looking after PC-connected desktop and standalone products. Iribe was moved from the position of CEO to head up the PC-based VR division, despite the company was becoming more and more focused on the lower-powered, mainstream end of the market.
The $199 Oculus Go was released earlier this year, and the $399 Oculus Quest is set to arrive early next year, but both of those are non-PC devices offering a simpler, but less impressive, version of the PC-based VR we’ve had for the past few years. While Facebook hasn’t actually denied cancelling Iribe’s PC-based VR headset it has, however, released a statement which is aimed at confirming the company’s commitment to the PC and that it is at least planning a future version of the Rift.
“We can’t comment on our product roadmap specifics,” Facebook told TechCrunch, “we do have future plans, and can confirm that we are planning for a future version of Rift.”
The TechCrunch report claims that Iribe had “fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time,” and the final straw seems to have been the reported cancellation of the next-gen Rift 2 device he was working on.
Iribe announced his departure from Facebook in a good-natured post on the social platform, thanking the entire Oculus crew for its “extraordinary team effort.” Though it does still contain his concerns surrounding the hardware future of both VR and AR.
“Now is when we get to pioneer the foundation of the next great computing platform and medium,” says Iribe, “this is our time to be pushing the state-of-the-art onward and upward. Every part of VR and AR needs to improve, especially the hardware and core technology, and Oculus has the best team in the world to do that.”
Oculus told us at a pre-Oculus Connect 5 event in San Francisco that it wasn’t going to rule out producing a Rift Pro to rival the Vive Pro, but everything from the event was focused more on the non-tethered side of VR, pushing towards the Oculus Quest device coming next year.