Facebook has no plans for Oculus Rift 3 any time soon

“Maybe one day, but we're all in on Quest now.”

Mark Zuckerberg

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 30: The Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset is displayed during the F...
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Never say never is basically Facebook’s position on the beloved PC-based Oculus Rift that was discontinued last year.

The last version of the wired VR headset, the Lenovo-developed Rift S, was popular with those that had powerful gaming PCs. But the lack of standalone wireless support and a lack of updates is what eventually led Facebook to shift focus to its fully wireless Quest headset. Still, the VR community is hungry for a true update to the Rift S.

Last year, when being stuck at home inspired many to finally try out virtual reality headsets, the Quest and Rift S sold out. But while the Quest was eventually restocked, Facebook announced that stock for the Rift S would not be replenished. The Rift line of VR headsets seemed all but dead, but an off-hand comment made recently by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his profile teasing the new Portal smart displays leaves open the door open for the Rift to return. Unlikely as that is.

In response to a commenter saying “Oculus Rift 3?!” Zuckerberg replied with: “Maybe one day, but we’re all in on Quest now. After all, you can just link your Quest to your PC and play games that way if you want.”

The future of VR is wireless, as we’re finding out, but a Rift 3 could see Facebook trying for a wired headset with performance rivaling the best-in-class Valve Index. Valve’s wired headset is years ahead the Rift S and Quest 2 in performance. It’s also $999 for the kit with everything — three times the price of the Quest 2. With a next-gen wired headset, Facebook could leverage the increasing power of modern GPUs, such as Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and AMD’s 6900 XT, to deliver more immersive VR experiences with realistic graphics that you can’t possibly achieve on a mobile-based VR headset like the Quest.

Right now, Facebook is invested in the Quest 2 and maybe even a Quest Pro down the line if the rumors are to be belived. But that may have been a different story had Facebook developed a legit Rift 2 instead of outsourcing the job to Lenovo to develop an updated version of the original Rift.

Facebook’s Quest — Though there was a time when the Rift ruled the roost at Oculus, that ended with the launch of the original Quest. The Rift S and Quest launched just a few months apart in 2019, but it’s the latter that quickly surpassed the former. Facebook continued to add functionality the Quest with multiple updates including Oculus Link support that lets you tether it a PC via a USB-C connection, which made it possible to access any PC VR game from either the Oculus Store or Steam.

And with Oculus Air Link, you can even play PC VR games wirelessly. Facebook also added hand tracking and more social work experiences like Horizon Workrooms, which lets you meet and collaborate with others in a virtual meeting room.

It’s no surprise that Facebook is focusing on the Quest 2 at the moment since it’s the more accessible VR headset.

Not only did the Quest 2 outsell its predecessors within six months of launching, but it’s the most used VR headset used on Steam, according to Steam’s Hardware Survey. While Facebook may one day launch a new Rift 3 VR headset, the chances of doing that while the Quest 2 is selling like gangbusters is unlikely. Should Quest sales ever slump and users demand more powerful hardware, a Rift 3 could happen. But don’t hold your breath. Mark Zuckerberg’s probably just teasing. For VR to really become mainstream, it’s gotta be wireless, not a dangly mess of wires hooked up to a PC.