Mark Zuckerberg has shown advanced headsets designed for collaboration and creativity.
“Meta Quest Pro will help you feel more present even if you’re physically apart. And it will give you a next-level setup that lets you overlay your work on top of the physical world while taking advantage of the vast virtual space for more flexible multitasking,” Meta said.
Meta Quest Pro, priced at $1,499.99, begins shipping on October 25. It is Meta’s first full-color mixed-reality device.
“Its pancake lenses fold light over several times, reducing the size of the headset while showing sharper visuals. A new, curved battery on the back helps make Meta Quest Pro a more balanced and ergonomic headset overall,” Meta said.
Quest Pro comes with inward-facing sensors to capture natural facial expressions and eye tracking.
“Raise an eyebrow, smile, or simply make eye contact with someone, and your avatar will do the same.”
It is supposed to improve social presence and increase productivity for those who use virtual reality (VR) as a tool for work.
According to reviewers and critics, the new Quest Pro is definitely not for gaming. The latest VR set will cost $1,499, almost as much as consumers would pay for a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and an older Quest 2 headset combined.
Meta picked consumer-friendly pricing for the latter, with the cheapest model first retailing at $299 in 2020. Even though the company raised the price tag by $100 earlier this year, it's still several times less expensive than the Quest Pro.
The reasoning behind Meta debuting a relatively affordable Quest 2 was simple: to get more users into VR. A larger consumer base is usually an incentive for creators to develop games and other apps for a specific platform. But observers now ask: who is going to throw $1,500 at the Quest Pro?
As The Washington Post points out, game inventory for VR has been rather thin anyway, so gamers weren't exactly keen to splurge even on a much cheaper headset. Why would they suddenly want to spend five times more?
Besides, there is more gaming inventory available on the newest consoles for a third of the price. For example, the most popular high-end system among VR gamers, the Valve Index, costs less than $1,000.
That is why some analysts are guessing that Meta is, for now, bypassing individual consumers, its biggest fans, and pitching the new device to companies as an effective tool to enhance work productivity. In other words, the hope is that Quest Pro, most probably pre-packed with collaborative software, will be purchased in bulk by corporations for its employees.
Then again, according to The Wall Street Journal, the new product has a glaring limitation: brief battery life. The new headset lasts only one to two hours on a single charge, which is probably not enough to get much work done. What's more, not a single demo video for the new software on the Meta Quest YouTube channel is business-related, with these showcasing the likes of Marvel's Iron Man VR and Among Us VR games.
Meta is also developing Meta Horizon Worlds to build a bridge between the web and VR.
“You can eventually pick up your phone or laptop and visit friends who are hanging out in VR, and vice versa,” Meta said.
The company is also working with the YouTube VR team and promised that you’d be soon able to watch YouTube videos together.
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