Meta has massive plans for VR, despite users not being that into it

Meta plans to launch a new version of its Quest Virtual Reality Headset this year, followed by two more advanced models later.

This is according to a detailed roadmap, obtained by The edge(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, Quest 2. It will also be a bit more expensive (the Quest 2 retails for $400), employees said during the presentation. The company also plans to have 41 new apps and games shipped for the Quest 3.

This is only the beginning, however. In 2024, Meta plans to launch a cheaper helmet named Ventura. And although there is no follow-up plan for the $1,499 Meta Quest Pro which was launched late last year, the company plans to release a more advanced helmet sometime after Ventura. Codenamed La Jolla, it will feature photorealistic Codec Avatars.

A very interesting tidbit from the presentation came from Mark Rabkin, Meta’s vice president for virtual reality, who told employees that the company has sold nearly 20 million Quest headsets so far. But he also said people who recently bought Quest 2 “just aren’t as interested” as users who bought it earlier.

It’s interesting. We know Meta is lose money(Opens in a new tab) on its virtual and augmented reality efforts, and we’ve seen reports(Opens in a new tab) about users who aren’t too eager to return to some of Meta’s VR experiences after trying it out for the first time, but it’s different to hear that from the company itself.

Meta also plans to track its augmented reality glasses, co-created with Luxottica, Ray-Ban’s parent company, starting 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 had a big impact on users (I certainly haven’t seen them worn by anyone). There are few details on the second version of the glasses, but Meta is already planning a third generation for 2025, which will have a “viewfinder”, allowing users to view incoming text messages, translate text and scan QE codes. . They will also have a “neural interface” strip that will allow users to control them with hand gestures.

Finally, Meta is also planning a smartwatch that will work with the smart glasses, positioning it as an optional upgrade on the neural interface band.

There is more. While Ray-Ban Stories and their immediate successors are pretty limited in what they can do, Meta is also working on a pair of actual augmented reality glasses, codenamed Orion. The company plans to launch them internally for employees in 2024, but doesn’t expect to release them publicly until 2027.

You must hand it over to Meta: despite recent layoffs (and maybe further ahead), and a mixed reception many of its virtual reality and augmented reality 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 run with Apple, which is reportedly planning to launch its first mixed reality headset in June.

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