Meta Laying off Quest 1 support for Population: One

BigBox VR, the Meta-owned developer after the Population: One, shared the update on its blog, stating that Quest 1 users will no longer be able to pitch or play the game starting October 31, 2022.

Meta strolled up the price on its Quest 2 headsets and announced its ending Quest 1 support for Population One, a widespread battle-royale shooter formed in virtual reality. 

BigBox VR says the shutdown must focus on creating new experiences “that will push the limits of multiplayer VR.” The developers state that you can still recreate Population: One via Air Link — a feature that allows you wirelessly recreate games on your PC from your headset — but this represents repurchasing the play on Steam if you haven’t already. Players employing the Quest 2, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Rift S will still have the key to the game. So meta is shutting down the most prominent VR games — but only for Quest 1 owners.

While Meta’s showing Quest 1 owners a refund for Population: One, there’s a snag: you must have bought the game from the Quest Store within the past six months. The policy appears unfair for a competition founded on the Quest nearly two years ago and will likely leave several players with a game they can’t even play.

Population: One‘s shutdown also increases the question of whether other developers will soon ax support for the three-year-old Quest 1. Meta spokesperson Caiti Sullivan said that the company’s currently “working out the elements of an ecosystem-wide end-of-support process” and that “other developers who select to end support for apps on Quest 1 will be able to do so.” However, meta refused to comment further when questioned whether any other games will end Quest 1 support shortly.

Games can’t sustain every older system forever, but doling out a price growth and an announcement that will momentarily leave Quest 1 owners with one less fun to play is like a double punch. 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 losses its virtual reality arm reported in both the first and second quarter of 2022.

A new wave of projects — including Starlink, OneWeb, and Amazon’s Project Kuiper — uses satellites in low-earth orbit to provide other internet access.

BigBox VR is a venture-backed startup established in Seattle by Chia Chin Lee and Gabe Brown, industry entrepreneurs who led successful exits and tossed top-grossing live service products at Valve, Disney, Sony, and Microsoft. Through their experience building online game businesses, they see an option to create platform-defining VR content that becomes the hub of a prosperous esport ecosystem.

Building upon the success of its first VR game, Smashbox Arena, which has a 95% positive rating on Steam, BigBox VR will redefine the VR multiplayer experience with POPULATION: ONE, its upcoming battle royale action game. POPULATION: ONE will be the final battle royale VR game and is set to launch in 2020. The Vertical Combat System (VCS) allows players to climb and fly anywhere in VR.

Population: One is a 2020 virtual reality online battle royale conceived and published by Big Box VR for the digital distribution service of the Oculus Quest 2 and Steam video game. Population: ONE was unleashed on October 22, 2020. The game’s development resulted from the studio wanting to construct a game that would accentuate the immersive capabilities of virtual reality. As a result, the game pioneered a vertical combat system that permits players to climb anything they can see and sail across the map. In 2021 the creator/publisher of Population: One was formulated by Meta. The game yielded more than 10 Million USD in revenue in the first four months after its launch.

The gameplay is comparable to many online battle royale games, most notably player-unknown battlegrounds. The player teams up with others to assemble a squad (usually having three players). Each unit battles with one another until only one remains standing. The basic mechanics are similar to Epic Games’ Fortnite. In Population: ONE, the player can ascend every object, structure, or geographic element encountered on the map. The player can also slide across the map from the altitude they rose. Together, these mechanics form the foundation of the game’s vertical combat system.

Players start each match on a launch ship platform high above the battlefield and run to pods at the platform’s edge. Upon penetrating the pod, players are projected into the air. Then, players can ride the pod to a predetermined location on the map or pull a handle to decline the pod to the ground.

During the battle, players may rekindle a fallen teammate by employing defibrillators. A player may also contain building resources sprinkled at random throughout the map. These resources are used to create walls and platforms—a defensive wall can guard a player from bullet and grenade damage, and an offensive fence can be built to confuse an enemy as a player refinement for an up-close attack.

Supply drops emerge at random throughout a contest. The howl of a supply ship overhead signals an upcoming decline. A player can consider the complete map to see where the stores will land. Drops contain weapons, ammunition, shield sodas, health sodas, bananas, backpack storage, and grenades.

Population: ONE primary mode of play is Squads, where players join the map in groups (or “squads”) of three and strike each other. The last squad to remain alive wins the match. The game offers several modes on a rolling basis, with each mode available to play for a set period before being replaced with another one. For example, in Legions, rather than each squad holding three players, there are six players per squad. All other gameplay mechanics are identical to Squads mode. In Team Deathmatch, two teams are positioned in an arbitrary location on the map. Each player chooses a primary and secondary weapon and an accessory such as extra health and guard boosts or grenades. A Deathmatch terminates when either one team creates 30 kills or time runs out, and the team with the most kills prevails.