Oculus ditches Windows 7 and 8 support for new Rift features

VR in Murder, She Wrote

Bad news for Rift owners still running Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs this morning, as Oculus have announced they’ve updated the minimum OS spec requirement for their Rift VR goggles to Windows 10. That doesn’t mean your VR headset will suddenly stop working with your Windows 7/8 PC, of course – it’s just that you’ll probably miss out on all of Oculus’ new-fangled gubbins further down the line.

“Windows 7 and 8.1 users are still supported for the Rift features they know and love today,” Oculus said in a blog last night, “but they may not be able to use many new and upcoming features and apps. We encourage everyone who isn’t already running Windows 10 to upgrade now to avoid missing out on what’s next.”

In theory, this should only affect a small minority of people, as Oculus state that 95% of ‘active’ Rift owners are already running Windows 10 anyway. It’s not entirely clear what qualifies as ‘active’, all told, but Oculus go on to justify the move as simply keeping in line with Microsoft’s own dwindling support for their now quite old pair of operating systems.

“Microsoft has deprecated mainstream support for Windows 7 and 8.1, so a shift to Windows 10 ensures we’ll be able to deliver the best performance standards for Rift owners, while aligning with industry standards,” Oculus said.

Indeed, Windows 10 is a vital component of Oculus’ new, upcoming software, Rift Core 2.0, which is currently available via an opt-in beta and will be rolled out later this year. This will introduce a redesigned Home interface, better multi-tasking in its Dash UI as well as a new feature called Oculus Desktop that mirrors your Windows desktop in VR. The latter only works with Windows 10, so it kinda makes sense to get people onboard now before the big update happens later on.

“Rift owners whose PCs aren’t running Windows 10 may find their systems are incompatible with some new apps and games,” Oculus continue. “You’ll still be able to get the same VR features and functions you have today, including things like responding to platform notifications, interacting with friends on the platform, managing your device, and running VR apps that don’t require Windows 10. You can still use Windows 7 and Windows 8 with most of Rift Core 2.0’s core functionality, but things like Oculus Desktop require Windows 10, as does the ability to run Dash as an overlay.”

Fortunately, the rest of Oculus’ minimum and recommended spec remain pretty much unchanged:

Minimum specification:

CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Video Output: HDMI 1.3
USB Ports: 1x USB3 port, 2x USB2 ports
OS: Windows 10

Recommended specification:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
Video Output: HDMI 1.3
USB Ports: 3x USB3 ports, 1x USB2 port
OS: Windows 10


  1. Hoot says:

    I wish this VR fad would just die. I mean is it ever gonna be anything more than a gimmick? I’ve tried a couple of VR apps and it just reminds me of the GAF Viewmasters of the 80s. You look through it, it’s something you go “oh, cool!” at, and then move on and never think about it again.

    • grimdanfango says:

      Why is it that everyone who isn’t interested in VR are always so determined to see it “die”?

      If it’s not for you, why be so determined to spoil other people’s fun?

      To counter your point – I’d say 3DTV was a gimmick, VR clearly isn’t. Lone Echo is amazing, Beat Saber is amazing, Budget Cuts is pretty good, and all these games are just the tip of the iceberg. Racing simulators will never be the same again – VR is such a useful tool for simracing that I shaved 2 seconds off my average laptime the moment I put the headset on, and I could never go back to playing on a floating rectangle, when I can have the car around me, and accurately judge space and positioning around me, look to the apex as you would in a real car, etc. It’s completely indispensible.

      VR certainly will never threaten conventional games… I still play plenty more regular non-VR games. I really think it’s close to being its own distinct medium to be honest, entirely able to coexist peacefully. Why not just let it be? It’s not about to spoil *your* fun, whether you’re interested or not.

      • MajorLag says:

        I’m not really interested in VR, but after playing through SuperHot VR in one sitting (standing?) I have to admit it has potential this time around.

        I think what you’re seeing isn’t a reaction to the technology, it’s to the ridiculous over-hype of the technology.

        • Massenstein says:

          This. I don’t mind other people enjoying what I don’t, but when it fills my newsfeeds, it starts to feel like being forcefully subjected to advertising. Though I’m not completely averse to the idea of VR and I hope it will some day succeed and become affordable. I just don’t care to hear about it until then.

          • Chaz says:

            There’s plenty of stories about stuff I’m not particularly interested here and on many other sites, like MOBA’s for instance. I just simply don’t read those articles. Same with the newspaper. I don’t like sport, so I just don’t read the sport pages. Simple really. And no, try as I might, I can’t get fucking football stories out of my Google news feeds either, so I just don’t read them.

      • automatic says:

        I remember all the hype on Oculus in 2014 and how they promised it would change the game market forever when they launched it on 2015. We’re in 2018 and VR is far from what I would call mainstream. It may be a cool gimmick and maybe even a game changer for some genres but it’s just not popular enough so creative developers from different genres can invest their time and money on it. In this regard I think it should die indeed. Give us affordable, good quality VR with plenty of titles or stop exploiting gamer expectations. That’s it.

        Btw, restricting VR to a single OS is just another nail in the coffin.

        • Sakkura says:

          They launched it in 2016, not 2015. And they were pretty clear about this being a slow burn.

          The extreme hype came from other sides.

          They’re not restricting VR to a single OS. Just new features will not be released for deprecated OSs (and bear in mind regular games no longer necessarily work on Win XP).

          • automatic says:

            I remember clearly how Oculus were selling out prototypes like candy and how everyone was excited because it was crowd funded and that supposedly meant it would be an unbound platform. That was just before Facebook bought it and threw a bucked of ice on everyone’s head at the end of 2014. The promise was for it to be release at 2015 but no only the final version was delayed, it was way more expensive than promised and it’s a retricted platform like consoles instead of a peripheral to any game with a support for it like people tought it would be. I honestly wonder how after all that deception it’s still alive.

            Btw, I don’t know why you’re mentioning Windows XP. They dropped support for 7 and 8. Imo that’s a lame move, not only because it restricts the platform even more, but because I don’t know of anything Windows 10 offers that’s more efficient on 7 besides DRM and maybe user data retrieval.

        • HiroTheProtagonist says:

          VR has gotten far more affordable if you’re willing to look outside the big 2. A brand new HP Mixed Reality headset with touch controllers costs $200 and can run most VR games, and a refurbed one is even cheaper. I bought my father a Google Daydream set for Father’s Day for $50 (50% discounts FTW) and while it’s not OR/Vive level quality it’s immersive enough for him to spend hours per evening watching 360 VR videos and BBC’s Life On Earth.

          That’s a far cry from Occulus Rift launching at $600 and Vive at $800 in terms of affordability.

          • Sakkura says:

            The big two have had major price cuts too. Oculus used to charge $600 + $200, now they charge $400 for the whole thing. HTC used to charge $800, now it’s $500.

            Oculus also launched the Go for $200 but it’s kinda amputated VR. The upcoming Santa Cruz should be really awesome though.

          • MajorLag says:

            Maybe, but having tried both the Vive and the Rift, with a notable difference in tracking quality between the two, I’m hesitant to believe a much less expensive unit can compare on that front, which I found was pretty important to the experience.

    • drofla says:

      Hoot says: “I wish this VR fad would just die”

      I love my Rift – Elite Dangerous and Lone Echo in VR were a revelation. Why would you want something you allegedly aren’t interested in to “Die”?

      I don’t enjoy Battle Royale games or competitive FPS much but they seem to be popular and I’ve got no axe to grind with those who do.

      • Shiloh says:

        I was disappointed with Elite Dangerous in the Rift – having over 400 hours in the game and hearing good things about the experience, I bought the headset just to play it, but the resolution just doesn’t do the game justice despite my tinkering with the HMD etc. settings in the game’s options.

        Given the significant investment I made when I bought it I’ll keep my Rift for now, but considering that it’s unlikely that the resolution issues I have with Elite will improve anytime soon, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll leave it gathering dust before I get rid of it.

        • grimdanfango says:

          There are a lot better games to play on it than Elite… that really is a bit of a gimmick – it’s amazing to sit inside your cockpit, look up at the looming immensity of a space-station docking bay… and then you take it off and play the game on the monitor, because it’s easier.

          If you like space… get Lone Echo.

          • Herring says:

            Rather than the resolution I found the absolutely ridiculous amount of web-browsing Elite required was the biggest hindrance to using VR.

            SOOO glad I explored the alien ruins in VR though. Absolutely incredible. It took a lot of prep _outside_ of VR first though…

      • grimdanfango says:

        I actively like that BR and competitive FPS exist – it keeps the masses happy, I know which devs/publishers to ignore, and thus I can find the good games more easily :-P

        (Yes, I’m trolling)

    • DThor says:

      Patience… it’s coming. There’s already a lot of pretty clear indications of the fall, such as studios shutting down VR divisions they’ve recently dumped millions into and the loud *clunk* that VR made at E3. Joe and Jane Blow aren’t going to be buying their headsets anytime soon so they can have that big VR BBQ over the weekend with the neighbours. One thing I will say is that unlike 3D TV, it won’t literally *die* – so VR
      aficionados shouldn’t pour on the hate for your post. It will be around, it’s just going to be a *very* vertical market. Some studio might just squeeze out something akin to a modern Skyrim before the hard crash, but I doubt it.

    • milligna says:

      What a bizarre opinion. It’s lovely stuff. Can’t get enough of my favorite sims in VR.

    • geldonyetich says:

      If true 3D is all you see when you try VR, you’re rather determinedly ignoring what head tracking and motion controllers bring to gaming. You just can’t be in a room with a polygon and interact with it in the same way outside of VR.

      Telling the future of technology is always iffy, but here I go.

      I don’t think VR is a fad, the tech is solid and here to stay. What’s probably going to happen is VR tech will just continue to improve, resolutions will eventually eliminate the screen door effect, and the googles will become increasingly less cumbersome. At that point, there’s really no reason not to be onboard with VR.

      After that? Over time, computers, mobile devices, and VR goggles will probably become much the same device. Then we’ll probably get them neatly implanted and have an always-on augmented reality experience everywhere we go in life. But that’s probably about 40 years out.

    • TrenchFoot says:

      Right. VR flares up every once in awhile then dies out. It’s like the locust cycle. The fundamental flaw isn’t the tech, it’s the idea, apparently.

    • Cinek says:

      What fad? There is no such thing as VR fad. VR’s here to stay, just like high-end 200Hz screens are here to stay.

  2. grimdanfango says:

    I’m not sure it’s widely known, but Oculus hasn’t supported their “Async Spacewarp” technique outside of Windows 10 since its inception, which apparently was because the only reason they could get it to work being down to Win 10’s more advanced desktop compositor… so there are reasons besides simply not wanting to support legacy OSs.

    I’m not happy to see Win 7 and associated support die off, but really that’s more on Microsoft doing everything in their power to kill it off as quickly as possible (So they can get at all your sweet, valuable personal data). It just becomes untenable for others to support it when Microsoft will withhold any new advances themselves.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Ahh, interesting! At a cursory glance, it looks like Valve has a similar restriction with their version of that feature – “async reprojection”, in their case, unless I’ve misunderstood something. Good to know half of my ramblings below are probably not relevant, though Oculus could certainly still offer a “reduced spiffiness” version of the big features for those 5% who don’t want to change operating systems. Facebook should totally be able to bankroll such things; shareholders love percentages, after all!

      • Sakkura says:

        Async reprojection is a more primitive feature, comparable to Oculus’ older ATW feature. And AFAIK Valve still hasn’t even gotten it to work on AMD cards…

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Aha! Thanks for the info – I wasn’t aware of that those bits at all. *reads and searches for a bit*

          Looks like AMD patched up their drivers to make it work last year, but just for the 4xx (and presumably newer) cards. It’s possible they broke something later, of course, or that Valve nonchalantly got it working… At the very least, I seem to remember being able to tick a box for it in SteamVR beta with my 390. Didn’t seem to hurt or help anything, though, so it’s quite possibly still out of reach for that card.

    • Archonsod says:

      It comes down to liability. If Microsoft are no longer supporting an OS it means they won’t provide bug fixes. If I find out the problem in my app is down to a bug in the Windows kernel I’m therefore screwed – particularly if I sold you that application with a claim it would work on that OS.

  3. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Heh. So, I’m guessing they’re doing some super interesting stuff with the Oculus Desktop which they didn’t talk about here, and/or they have uncreative programmers (unlikely), and/or they’ve decided that waiting an extra frame for compositing is too long at 90fps (arguably?), or [insert hilarious corporate conspiracy theory here], or they don’t feel like supporting old OSes with their shiny new lines of code (the likely case, methinks), or, or, or, and/or…

    What I do know (unless something’s changed since I had Win7) is Virtual Desktop does a pretty decent job of virtually desktopping Windows 7 (and 10, for that matter) and doing various other things like displaying panoramic photos and videos, so that particular point of Oculus just seems like a dodgy marketing excuse to me, for the moment. It’ll be interesting to see what they actually do with that narrowed support scope.

    In the meantime, more hats off to Valve for supporting Linux and things! Even though their Windows support is similarly narrowing with their ridiculous new chat system and some security-related upgrades, if memory serves. Security’s a vaguely more reasonable excuse since the responsibility there is largely Microsoft’s, seems to me…

  4. racccoon says:

    Billions from nothing, Oculus needs to ditch itself.

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