Meta plans to release a new version of its Quest VR headset this year, followed by two more advanced models later.
This is according to a detailed presentation of the roadmap, obtained by The Verge(Opens in a new tab)that Meta shared with its employees on Tuesday.
The new Quest 3 headset will be twice as thin and at least twice as powerful as the company’s current model, the Quest 2. It will also be slightly more expensive (the Quest 2 retails for $400), employees said during the presentation. The company also plans to release 41 new apps and games for Quest 3.
This is just the beginning, though. In 2024, Meta plans to release a cheaper handset codenamed Ventura. And while there are no plans for a follow-up to the $1,499 Meta Quest Pro that launched late last year, the company plans to release a more advanced handset sometime after the Ventura. Codenamed La Jolla, it will feature photorealistic Codec Avatars.
One very interesting tidbit from the presentation came from Mark Rabkin, Meta’s vice president of VR, who told employees that the company has sold nearly 20 million Quest headsets so far. But he also said that people who recently bought Quest 2 “aren’t as excited” as users who bought it earlier.
Meta Quest 2 vs PSVR2: How the two VR headsets stack up
This is interesting. We know Meta is losing money(Opens in a new tab) about its virtual and augmented reality efforts and we’ve seen reports(Opens in a new tab) about users not being too eager to return to some of Meta’s VR experiences after trying it out, but it’s different to hear that from the company itself.
Meta is also planning a follow-up to its augmented reality glasses, co-created with Ray-Ban parent Luxottica, as early as this fall. We didn’t like the first version, but since Meta didn’t share any sales numbers, it’s hard to say if they made much of an impact on users (I certainly haven’t seen them worn). There are few details about the second version of the glasses, but Meta is already planning a third generation for 2025, which will feature a “viewfinder” that will allow users to see incoming text messages, translate text and scan QE codes . They will also have a “neural interface” band that will allow users to control them with gestures.
Finally, Meta is also planning a smartwatch that will work with the smart glasses, placing it as an optional upgrade to the neural interface band.
There are more. While the Ray-Ban stories and their immediate successors are pretty limited in what they can do, Meta is also working on a pair of augmented reality glasses, codenamed Orion. The company plans to release them internally to employees in 2024, but doesn’t plan to release them to the public until 2027.
You’ve got to hand it to Meta: Despite recent layoffs (and possibly more to come) and a lukewarm reception to many VR and AR efforts (including complaints from employees), the company seems to be redoubling its efforts to build the Metaverse.
Meta’s VR and AR efforts are sure to make for an interesting matchup with Apple, which is reportedly planning to release its first mixed reality set this June.