Frontier Developments announce potential dropping of Rift support
The release of version 0.7 of the Oculus Rift’s SDK brought with it many compatibility problems. It was the first version of the software that allowed the Rift to officially run on Windows 10, and for that to happen the SDK required fundamental changes, including the complete removal of the ‘extended mode’ option which games like Elite: Dangerous relied upon.
While many VR applications were able to transition successfully to 0.7, Frontier Developments (the developer of Elite: Dangerous) seem to have admitted defeat for the time-being.
We have supported Oculus as far as we can, but Elite: Dangerous is not compatible with Oculus SDK version 0.7, and 1.4 doesn’t change that. We hope a future version of their software can be made to work and we are continuing to work with them on this. Elite: Dangerous 1.4 does continue to work with Oculus SDK 0.5 and 0.6, but we continue to ask that players do not upgrade their Oculus SDK beyond 0.6 if they want to continue to play Elite: Dangerous. Our VR support continues to improve and we now also have support for SteamVR and the htc Vive.
The game has long been considered one of the original flagships for the Oculus Rift’s launch, leading many to worry that this compatibility problem may be insurmountable. And with 0.7 being the only version that officially supports Windows 10, many users have no option to revert back to older SDK versions.
Whether this news will have any impact in the upcoming headset wars remains to be seen. The Vive, for example, currently uses ‘extended mode’, and runs Elite: Dangerous fantastically. But Valve/HTC, too, are moving away from it in favor of the more responsive ‘direct mode’ that Elite: Dangerous is incompatible with. Ultimately, then, it may be down to Frontier Developments to re-engineer their game engine if they want to to retain their game’s reputation as one of the top VR experiences.