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Forward-looking: As Meta's metaverse division, Reality Labs, threw another few billion dollars into the furnace last quarter, the company presses forward with VR products. Those include the next Meta Quest headset, set to succeed the popular Meta Quest 2 when it launches later this year.
Meta's Q4 2022 earnings call included new information about the company's next VR headset. Likely to be called the Meta Quest 3, Meta wants the device to be a relatively accessible vehicle for its mixed reality ambitions.
Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the Quest 3 would incorporate Meta Reality, the company's technology that makes VR headsets capable of augmented reality, making them mixed reality headsets. The $1,500 Meta Quest Pro, which Meta launched last October, includes it as a primary feature.
When Meta debuted the Quest Pro, Zuckerberg confirmed that the company aims to launch the Quest 3 in late 2023 for a price between $300 and $500. Meta currently offers the Quest 2 at $400, giving it a sizable price advantage over offerings from companies like HTC and Valve that cost over a grand. Keeping the Quest 3 at a similar cost could expand Meta Reality's reach.
A leak from last September suggested that the Quest 3 features depth-sensing, two black-and-white cameras, and two RGB cameras, presumably to display the user's surroundings and deliver an augmented reality experience. The Quest 2's external cameras only transmit a rudimentary black-and-white video passthrough feed. The leak also mentioned a Snapdragon SoC, 2 LCDs, thin pancake lenses, mechanical IPD adjustments, a pogo pin connector for a charging dock, and a strap similar to the Quest 2's.
Oddly, the Quest 3 will not include eye tracking, a feature touted by VR-space competitor Sony in its $500 PlayStation VR 2 headset. Eye tracking lets the dual displays detect precisely where a user is looking and use that information to prioritize pixel rendering, thus saving precious graphics processing cycles.
Zuckerberg expressed optimism that Meta Reality would grow in the coming years. The sentiment mirrors his insistence that VR and the Metaverse are a worthwhile long-term investment, even after his company's Metaverse division lost $14 billion in 2022. Meta expects to lose even more money in 2023 as it continues to push its ambitions.