According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a key feature from Meta’s $1,499.99 Quest Pro headset will appear — in some form — in a more affordable consumer-focused headset coming later this year. Support for Meta Reality, the technology that allows virtual reality headsets to be used for augmented reality, resulting in a so-called mixed reality headset, is a key feature.
In a previous earnings call, Meta confirmed that the headset, likely to be called the Meta Quest 3, will be released in late 2023. Zuckerberg anticipates it will cost between $300 and $500, or roughly one-third the price of the enterprise-focused Quest Pro.
“The MR [mixed reality] ecosystem is relatively new, but I believe it will grow significantly in the coming years,” Zuckerberg said during this week’s earnings call, according to UploadVR. “We’re going to launch our next generation consumer headset later this year, which will include Meta Reality as well, and I expect that this will establish this technology as the baseline for all headsets going forward, and eventually for AR glasses as well.”
What is currently unknown is what form the Meta Reality feature will take on a more affordable headset. It combines two camera views on the Quest Pro to reconstruct a 3D view of the real world around you to make it easier to interact with, but who knows if the technology will work the same way on the Quest 3. Meanwhile, the current-generation Quest 2 provides a more basic video passthrough that displays a low-resolution monochromatic view of the world outside the headset. According to a previous report, the Quest 3 could have a depth sensor to measure the space in front of you and possibly allow for hand-tracking.
According to UploadVR, other rumoured Quest 3 features include the use of pancake lenses, which would allow for smaller display panels and a more compact headset overall, as well as a more powerful Qualcomm processor.
It’s worth noting that, despite Meta’s marketing, Meta Reality didn’t perform particularly well on the Quest Pro. “Meta’s colour passthrough looks nothing like the real world,” my colleague Adi wrote in her scathing Quest Pro review. “In the Quest Pro’s grainy display, video footage is fuzzy. In low light, the feed is murky, washed-out or flickery in bright light, and occasionally luridly saturated in between. It is nearly impossible to read real-world phone or computer screens through it. It’s a fine system for dipping into the physical world while having a conversation or getting a cup of coffee, but it’s not significantly more useful (or enjoyable) than the black-and-white passthrough in Quest 2.” Ouch.