In a surprising move, Meta has taken the lead in the VR market by announcing its latest VR headset, the Meta Quest 3. This announcement comes just days before Apple’s highly anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2023, where rumours suggest that Apple may finally unveil its long-awaited AR/VR headset.
The Meta Quest 3 was introduced to the public through a blitz announcement by Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, ahead of the Meta Quest Games Showcase. The flagship model, Quest Pro, released by Meta last year, already featured mixed reality (MR) capabilities and full-colour pass-through. The Quest 3 continues to build on this foundation, blending augmented reality elements into the environment through an external pill-shaped camera on the front of the headset. This integration creates a seamless and immersive experience, making virtual characters appear as if they truly exist. Zuckerberg proudly boasts this feature, claiming that the Meta Quest 3 is “the first mainstream headset with high-definition colour-mixed reality.”
One of the notable advancements in the Quest 3 is its significant reduction in thickness compared to its predecessor, the Quest 2. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who had the opportunity to try it out, the Quest 3 is 40% thinner and more comfortable to wear, improving the overall user experience.
While specific details about the Quest 3’s specifications have not been released, Meta did mention in an official announcement that the headset is equipped with a next-generation Qualcomm chipset. This new chipset promises improved display resolution and double the graphics performance, making the Quest 3 the most powerful headset Meta has ever produced. Further details about the Qualcomm chipset will be disclosed later this year.
The Quest 3 features an updated optical system, transitioning from the Fresnel lens used in the Quest 2 to a pancake lens. This update not only contributes to the reduced thickness of the headset but also enhances the visual experience for users.
With two 4-megapixel RGB colour cameras and an improved depth sensor for an accurate representation of the play space, the Quest 3 offers an impressive level of optics. Meta claims that the number of pass-through pixels has increased 10 times compared to the Quest 2. By omitting certain features such as gaze and facial expression tracking found in the Quest Pro, Meta has brought the Quest 3 closer to the popular price range while maintaining a similar level of optical performance.
Another notable change in the Quest 3 is the redesigned controller, now called the “Touch Plus.” Meta states that this controller has been completely reimagined with a streamlined and ergonomic form factor. The outer tracking ring has been eliminated, creating a more natural extension of the hand and occupying less space. Meta promises an enhanced and immersive gaming experience with the Touch Plus controller and even offers the option to upgrade to the fully self-tracking Meta Quest Touch Pro controller for a premium experience.
The Meta Quest 3 is expected to be available in the fall of 2023, with prices starting at $499 for the 128GB version. The headset will support the full Quest 2 game library, providing a wide range of content for users to enjoy.
Meta also announced its plans to lower the price of the Quest 2 while further improving its performance, signalling the company’s commitment to making VR more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.
More detailed information about the Meta Quest 3 will be unveiled at Meta’s developer conference, “Connect,” scheduled for September 27. As the competition in the VR and AR space heats up, Meta’s early announcement of the Quest 3 positions the company as a frontrunner in the race to revolutionize virtual and augmented reality experiences.