Meta's next VR headset confirmed for October release
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an October release window for the company’s upcoming VR headset. Speaking to Joe Rogan, Zuckerberg talked up the “big features” of the new headset, currently codenamed Project Cambria.
The new headset, stated Zuckerberg, will have a greater focus on “social presence,” and include eye and face-tracking. By capturing the facial expressions of users, the headset will apply those reactions onto player avatars so as to create non-verbal communication.
“There’s more nonverbal communication when people are with each other than verbal communication,” said Zuckerberg. “Have your face be tracked so that way your avatar [is] not just this still thing, but if you smile or if you frown or if you pout…have that translate in real time to your avatar.”
A report from UploadVR earlier in the summer indicated that Project Cambria will ultimately be called the Quest Pro, and launch at a retail price higher than $800. That same report said another generation of Quest VR headsets will be released, though no other information was given.
On Rogan’s podcast, Zuckerberg further stressed that VR has the potential to change one’s perception of their surroundings. “When you’re on a video call you don’t actually feel like you’re there with the person. To me, what virtual reality unlocks is that it really convinces your brain that you’re there in person.”
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Zuckerberg himself has said in the past that he believes VR will truly be the future. And following the tepid reaction to his recent avatar selfie from the VR platform Horizon Worlds, he promised that Worlds–and by extension, the metaverse–would look significantly better.
“I recognize that it’s expensive to build this — it’s something that’s never been built before and it’s a new paradigm for computing and social connection,” he said at a Q1 investor call earlier in the year. “We’re making large investments to deliver the next platform that I believe will be incredibly important both for our mission and business.”
At the start of the month, Meta increased the price of its Quest 2 VR headset by $100, as part of its increased focus on VR. The company continues to hedge its bets on VR, even as financial reports show that Meta is still operating at a loss when it comes to VR.
Part of Meta’s overall metaverse plans involves acquiring VR developers. The FTC blocked Meta’s planned acquisition of VR developer Within in July with an injunction, and accused Meta of eliminating competition. While Meta may still be aiming for metaverse supremacy, it’ll have to take more careful steps from now on.