The honeymoon may be over for low-cost VR headsets. In a surprising move, Facebook parent company Meta just announced that its two-year-old Quest 2 VR headset will be going up in price by $101 starting Aug. 1. That's not how consumer electronics normally work.
The 128GB storage-equipped base mode of the stand-alone VR headset, which normally costs $299, will be $400. The 256GB model will increase from $399 to $500.
In a tweet issued by Meta, the price hike was explained as a move to "continue investing in moving the VR industry forward for the long term."
It's always been understood that the price of Meta's VR headsets was in effect being subsidized, priced at costs considerably lower than competitors have been able to match in order to gain as a large a footprint as possible.
The price hike will include a free game code for Beat Saber, admittedly a great game on the Quest, but Beat Saber only costs $30, so that's still a $71 price differential.
The Quest 2 at $400 becomes a different prospect than at $299. There are still a few days to get a Quest 2 at its current price before the hike. But, then again, it may also be a sign of the rising costs of the next wave of VR headsets. It's unlikely the PlayStation VR 2, or anything else, will be cheaper. In effect, this makes the Quest 2 return to the price that the original Oculus Quest cost in the first place.
Mark Zuckerberg discussed the future rising costs of next-gen VR headsets, including the upcoming "Cambria" headset that's expected to be called the Quest Pro, in a conversation with CNET last year. Meta has had a run of financial downturns recently, with growing reports of internal pressures inside Meta.
"Meta has invested billions of dollars to help foster and grow a thriving VR ecosystem," the company said in a statement. "We're adjusting the price of our Meta Quest 2 headsets to enable us to continue investing in ways that will keep driving this increasingly competitive industry forward for consumers and developers alike."