Mark Zuckerberg showcases the Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset, as Metaverse moves one step closer
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta Platforms, has unveiled the firm’s virtual and mixed reality headset on Tuesday, dubbed the Meta Quest Pro.
The unveiling of the Meta Quest Pro came during Meta’s annual Connect conference, and is being touted as “the first in a new line of advanced headsets built for collaboration, creativity and getting things done.”
The new headset is being described as a step up from the existing $399 Oculus Quest 2 headset. Facebook had acquired Oculus in 2014 and faced some pushback from Oculus loyalists when it began requiring Facebook logins for new users in October 2020. Meta had previously allowed users to activate the headsets with a standalone Oculus login, and it undid the controversial 2020 change in July this year.
Meta Quest Pro
The Meta Quest Pro headset (previously called Project Cambria) is certainly more expensive that the $399 Oculus Quest 2 headset.
It will retail for a price of £1,499 in the UK ($1,500 in the US) and is available for pre-order now, with shipping on 25 October.
The Meta Quest Pro headset will essentially offer consumers a way to interact with virtual creations overlaid onto a full-colour view of the physical world around them. This is what Meta collectively calls the “metaverse”, which includes augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR).
Meta has said it intends to spend $10 billion (£7bn) a year for the next decade developing the metaverse, which it sees as the next step for the internet, making it more immersive.
Previous virtual reality headsets such as Meta’s Oculus immersed the user in a digital world, while augmented reality, which is already widely used in the form of games such as Pokémon Go, typically allows virtual items to appear on top of the real world, for instance using a smartphone screen or a pair of glasses.
“Meta Quest Pro is the first in a new line of advanced headsets built to expand the possibilities of virtual and mixed reality,” Meta stated. “Its pancake lenses fold light over several times, reducing the size of the headset while showing sharper visuals. A new, curved battery on the back helps make Meta Quest Pro a more balanced and ergonomic headset overall.”
It said that high-resolution outward-facing cameras capture 4X as many pixels as Meta Quest 2 and make Meta Quest Pro its first full-colour mixed reality device.
It is also the first headset Meta has built that integrates inward-facing sensors to capture natural facial expressions and eye tracking. Raise an eyebrow, smile or simply make eye contact with someone, and your avatar will do the same.
Meta says this helps improve social presence – the feeling that you’re right there together with someone no matter where in the world you are.
In addition to offering its own Horizon social and workspace platforms, Meta has also made virtual versions of Microsoft office products like Word, Outlook and Teams available, after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Mark Zuckerberg to announce.
Meta said the Quest Pro headset is intended to complement rather than replace the entry-level Quest 2 headset.
While significantly more expensive than the Quest 2 headset, the $1,500 purchase price for the Quest Pro places it well below the cost of Microsoft’s Hololens 2, which costs $3,500.