We finally know more official details about Meta's next $500 VR headset and how it will aim to compete with Apple.
Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Apple's expected VR/AR headset reveal looks like it's right around the corner at WWDC, but Meta has leaped ahead with headset news of its own. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Instagram channel revealed a lot more about the Quest 3, which had been expected by the end of this year. The price, starting at $500, will be more than that of the Quest 2, but less than that of the PlayStation VR 2. Zuckerberg said on his channel that more details on the Quest 3 and the launch date will happen around Meta's Connect developer conference on Sept. 27.
A follow-up to 2019's Quest 2, the current most popular headset on the market, the Quest 3 was already known to exist since last fall. A number of details, including a hands-on test drive of a prototype version, had leaked before Zuckerberg's news drop today.
Meanwhile, the Quest 2 is getting a price drop back to $300 -- its original starting price -- along with a promised performance-improving software update soon.
Meta also revealed a number of upcoming VR games for the Quest 2 and Quest 3 coming this year, including an Assassin's Creed VR game, a game based on the Attack on Titan anime series, a port of Sega's classic game Samba de Amigo, and a standalone VR sequel to the PC RPG Asgard's Wrath.
The Quest 3 looks very much like a refined and improved proposition to what the Quest 2 already does, but its speed gains, reduced size, lighter overall weight, improved controllers and mixed-reality features should make it a significant update. The new Touch Plus controllers, which promise improved haptics, look like they're more portable, and have a similar design to the Quest Pro's controllers minus built-in cameras.
The Quest 3's biggest addition is color cameras that allow for better mixed reality that blends video from the real world with VR on the headset's displays, which should open up development of more AR-type apps on the Quest platform. The Quest Pro has mixed-reality capabilities too, but its higher price likely limited app development to take advantage of that feature.
The Quest 3 also will introduce a new Qualcomm VR/AR chip that promises speedier performance. The existing Quest 2 library will work on the Quest 3, but it looks like the hardware's upgraded specs could trigger a wave of more advanced games and apps that will likely be Quest 3 exclusives eventually, too (similar to what eventually happened with the Quest 2 and original Quest).
The Quest 3 doesn't have eye tracking like the far more expensive, work-targeted Quest Pro that debuted last fall, but it also looks to be a better VR headset overall. Along with a lineup of new VR games announced today, Meta's clearly aiming at continuing to own the VR game console market as Apple possibly readies a very different route with its expensive and possibly work-focused headset.