What does Facebook’s farewell to Oculus Go mean for enterprise

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Facebook is finally retiring Oculus Go and, in doing so, promoting Quest to the standalone leadership position within its VR business

Quick read

➨ Facebook blamed Oculus Go’s demise on VR technology’s ‘incredible pace’ of improvement
➨ Oculus Quest is opening (slightly) to more developers
➨ Oculus for Business developers and ISVs are also getting some love

The story

Facebook has announced that shipments of Oculus Go will end this year. Although the system software will be maintained with bug fixes and security patches through 2022, new apps and app updates will cease from December of this year.

In a blog post, Facebook blamed Oculus Go’s demise—and two-year shelf life—on VR technology’s “incredible pace” of improvement.

Facebook means the rise of 6DoF and Quest’s full head and hand movement capabilities, an update that came a year after Go’s release: “The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and you’ve told us loud and clear that 6DoF feels like the future of VR. That’s why we’re going all-in, and we won’t be shipping any more 3DoF VR products.”

Outside of gaming, Oculus Go has proven to be a reliable handset.

360° experiences and other mobile-friendly VR experiences are still popular, as shown by the recent release of Vection Technologies’s new live events broadcasting service for enterprise, which uses Oculus Go, and even Travel World VR’s mobile-focused tourism platform.

Calling time on 3DoF might also be premature.

Lenovo recently revealed the Mirage VR S3, built in partnership with Pico Interactive, that uses 3DoF.

Of course, this enterprise headset is aimed at schools and colleges that do not need full head and hand movement, but Facebook’s focus on consumer use cases, primarily gaming, might be ignoring a valuable customer base.

The social media company would likely argue that Oculus Quest has proven to be a more than worthy entrant into the enterprise market.

VRWorldTech wrote earlier this month how the Oculus Quest headset is fast becoming more compelling for hard and soft skills training in VR with the arrival of new solutions from Bublar Group, Immerse and VirtualSpeech, not to mention Safeguarding VR from BODYSWAPS and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy

And Facebook announced on Oculus Quest and Rift S’s first birthday that consumers had spent more than $100 million on Quest content and more than 10 titles have generated over $2 million in revenue on Quest.

That combination of being cost-effective enough for consumers while being technologically capable for unique enterprise use cases does not come along very often, particularly in VR.

One criticism often leveled at Facebook is that Oculus Quest Store is too difficult to enter, drastically limiting the content available on the platform.

While sideloading is always an option—and necessary given Quest’s capability to serve as a tethered unit for VR PC content through Oculus Link—it lacks the security and peace of mind that is supposed to be the main benefit of a closed ecosystem.

Facebook is not opening the Quest Store as such, or easing its curation process.

Instead, Facebook will “offer a new way for developers to distribute Quest apps” in early 2021.

“This will enable developers to share their apps to anyone with a Quest, without having to be accepted into the Oculus Store, and without the need for sideloading,” Facebook explained.

This is part of a plan to make Quest accessible to a wider group of developers, including the Go development community.

For developers and independent software vendors working with Oculus for Business customers, Facebook will also be introducing a dedicated business channel, for the ability to distribute across headsets to existing enterprise customers.

Oculus for Business became available to enterprise in May. For $999, they get the first year’s subscription to the Oculus for Business software and an enterprise-charged but essentially unchanged Quest.

As we say farewell to Oculus Go, how do you feel about Facebook’s decision to step away from 3DoF, as Lenovo moves closer? And will Quest last longer than its predecessor, or will enterprise get a new headset before the year is out? Let VRWorldTech know via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or editor@vrworldtech.com.

Main image: Farewell Oculus Go