Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the release of the company's new virtual reality headset, the Meta Quest 3, on Instagram. The new headset will feature higher resolution images, a lighter build, and three front cameras. It is expected to cost $499 and become available in the fall, with more details to come at a Meta conference on September 27. However, the Quest 3 is $200 more expensive than its predecessor, the Quest 2, which was released in 2020.
Apple also plans to enter the virtual reality industry with its first mixed-reality headset, Reality Pro, expected to debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5. The product is expected to cost around $3,000 and use an xrOS operating system based on iOS, allowing the headset to use iPad apps. Oppo, a Chinese company, also launched a mixed-reality headset designed for developers on Wednesday.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, changed its name in 2021 to reflect a shift in focus to building the metaverse, a virtual extension of the physical world that relies on virtual reality and social media. Meta acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, marking its first step into virtual reality. As of March, the company had sold 20 million Quest headsets, including Quest 1, Quest 2, and Quest Pro. However, the company reported $13.7 billion in operating losses in 2022 for its virtual reality division, Reality Labs, due in part to a decline in consumer interest in headsets.
While Meta remains a giant in the virtual reality industry, making up 80% of all virtual reality headset sales in 2022, the decline in consumer interest has led to significant losses. Apple's entry into the industry may also pose a threat to Meta's dominance.