Meta Platforms Inc. (META), owners of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Horizon Worlds, Mapillary, and Workplace has reduced the cost of its Quest Virtual Reality (VR) headset to attract more customers in the growing VR sector.
Meta has consistently been named among the major players of the global metaverse market where VR headsets in addition to other devices such as smart helmets, smart glasses, head-mounted displays (HMD), heads-up display (HUD), and mixed reality (MR) headsets will play a role in creating realistic-looking virtual scenarios.
The Meta Quest Pro which was launched in October 2022 and mixed the real and virtual worlds was introduced at Meta’s annual Connect Conference. The Quest Pro had a starting price of $1,500. According to the social media, social networks, advertising, consumer electronics, and VR company, the Quest Pro will continue to offer consumers a way to actively connect with creations in the virtual world which have been overlaid onto a colour view of the real world.
As an integral part of Meta’s Reality Labs’ pursuit of bringing the metaverse to life, Quest Pro has been slashed by 33% to $999. The Quest 2 256 gigabytes (GB) which was released in October 2020 and is also known as Oculus Quest 2 has also seen a 14% reduction from $499 to $429. The price cuts were announced by Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive, via the social media platform Instagram on March 3.
Meta’s VR prices are now lower than products from mainstream competitors
With the global metaverse market forecasted to be worth billions of dollars by the end of 2030 with gaming, online shopping, content creation, conference, and socializing as the applications that will be dominating the market, Meta’s move is seen as a step in the right direction by many analysts.
Based on prices at PC Magazine, an online platform that provides a complete guide to upgrades, peripherals, and computers, Sony’s PlayStation VR2 mostly used by gamers of its PlayStation 5 is selling for $549.99 at the PlayStation Store.
Valve Index VR Kit launched in June 2019 is selling for $1,428.80 at popular electronic (e) – commerce company Amazon while the HTC Vive Pro (released in May 2021) which has been rated as one of the best highest-resolution VRs is also retailing at $1,399 at Amazon.
On the Hewlett-Packard (HP) webpage, the HP Reverb G2 (released in November 2020) has been selling for $449.
This means that Meta’s Quest Pro is selling for at least $400 below the prices of HTC Vive Pro and Valve Index VR Kit while its Quest 2 is selling below a minimum of $20 than the VR devices by Sony and Hewlett Packard.
Meta’s Reality Labs has lost around $24 billion in the past two years
The significant reduction in VR prices could be a turning point in the fortunes of Meta in 2023 and beyond after its VR and augmented reality (AR) research unit Reality Labs lost a combined $23.7 billion ($13.7 billion in 2022 and $10 billion in 2021) after Meta placed a huge bet in the metaverse. Zuckerberg called 2023 the Year of Efficiency and the latest move could steer the company reeling from severe losses into the right direction.
The future of VR headsets
Aside from Meta, NVidia, ZQGame, Lilith, miHoYo, NetEase, ByteDance, Epic Games, Unity, Roblox, Microsoft, and Tencent have been named by several research firms as key players for the advancement of the metaverse.
In February 2023, Chinese multinational technology company Tencent Holdings Limited renounced plans of venturing into the production of VR hardware citing a sobering economic outlook which ultimately led to several employees at their metaverse unit losing their jobs.
Despite Tencent’s abandoned plans, Oculus VR, Google, Unity, Samsung, Magic Leap, and Wevr are among the companies contributing strongly to hardware and software development for the transitioning of numerous activities from the physical to the virtual world.