Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided a glimpse of the company’s latest virtual reality headset, the Quest 3. The new headset, starting at $499, is touted as the first announced headset with “high-res color mixed reality.” It is also 40% thinner than its predecessor, the Quest 2.
The Quest 3 features at least three cameras on the front, potentially enhancing the pass-through experiences where users can see the real world while wearing the headset. The video teaser highlighted improved depth perception and graphics enhancements for gaming. Meta stated that the headset offers “high-fidelity color Passthrough, innovative machine learning, and spatial understanding” to enable interaction with virtual content and the physical world simultaneously.
Equipped with a next-generation Qualcomm chipset, the Quest 3 will ship with more details to be revealed during Meta’s Connect conference on September 27. The announcement comes as Apple is expected to unveil its competing VR headset, potentially incorporating augmented reality features, at the company’s June WWDC event.
Meta had previously announced plans to release the Quest 3 in 2022, anticipating growth in cost of revenue due to the launch of the next-generation consumer Quest headset. The company continues to invest heavily in the development of the metaverse, a digital universe that relies on virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
While Meta’s Reality Labs unit, responsible for VR and AR technologies, recorded an operating loss of $3.99 billion in the first quarter of the year, the company remains committed to expanding its presence in the immersive technology space. In an effort to make its products more accessible, Meta lowered the price of the Quest 2 headset back to $299 starting June 4, after a temporary increase to $399 in July 2022.
Although the VR headset market saw a 2% decline in sales in the U.S. in 2022, reaching $1.1 billion, it is still considered a niche market and has yet to achieve mainstream consumer electronics status, according to research group NPD Group.