Meta is planning to ship a VR headset in 2024 which the company wants to make as accessible as possible to consumers.
According to a report by The Verge, Meta’s VP of VR, Mark Rabki, told thousands of employees in a memo that it plans to release a consumer VR headset in 2024, codenamed Ventura.
“The goal for this headset is very simple: pack the biggest punch we can at the most attractive price point in the VR consumer market,” Rabki wrote in the memo.
Meta seems to be positioning Ventura as a ‘Quest 3 Lite’ of sorts. In the reported memo, the company announced its upcoming Quest 3 would be targeted at enthusiasts, which is said to be a “bit more money” than the current $400/$500 headset, while also including mixed reality capabilities similar to Quest Pro. The company has publicly confirmed Quest 3 will release at some point this year.
Additionally, the report maintains that any ‘Pro’ level headset will be “way out in the future” after Ventura is released in 2024.
This means Meta will be selling Quest 3 at the same time it releases Ventura in 2024, and likely within the life span of Quest Pro too, so the company will need to offer all of them at fitting price points as to not muddy the waters.
It’s uncertain where Meta hopes to cut corners with the ostensibly cheaper standalone. One thing the company can do is ship without motion controllers, which would cut down on overall price, although that would stymie consumer access to the back catalogue of VR games. Not all games make use of Quest hand-tracking.
With Ventura, the company could opt to essentially update Quest 2’s hardware with minor modifications, like replacing the Fresnel lenses with pancake optics to slim down the overall profile, and add a faster chipset.
Whatever the case, it seems the company is looking at capturing the low end of the VR market, which would better lock in a new generation of VR users into the Meta ecosystem—something the company needs if it hopes to increase user retention. Offering a cheaper headset could also potentially broaden Meta’s access to emerging markets, somewhere Chinese competitors like Pico Interactive may succeed given the chance.
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