Facebook’s parent company, Meta, unveiled a high-end virtual reality headset that comes with a hefty $1,500 price tag. Meta hopes the new Meta Quest Pro headset will lure people to work and play in the still-elusive place called the “metaverse.”
Meta is in the midst of a corporate transformation that it says will take years to complete. The company is trying to evolve from a provider of social media platforms to a dominant power in a nascent virtual-reality construct called the metaverse — sort of like the internet brought to life, or at least rendered in 3D.
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The new headset costs $1,100 more than Meta’s Quest 2 headset (formerly known as Oculus Quest 2) and contains new technologies like high-resolution sensors that let people see mixed virtual and augmented reality in full color. It also has new eye tracking technology and “natural facial expressions” that mimic the wearer’s facial movements, so their avatars appear natural when interacting with other avatars in virtual-reality environments.
Meta’s competitor, HTC, sells its Vive Pro 2 full system set for $2,199 according to the HTC Vive website. The full system includes the motion controllers and Steam VR base stations, which are mandatory for operation.
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“Meta is positioning the new Meta Quest Pro headset as an alternative to using a laptop,” said to Rolf Illenberger, founder and managing director of VRdirect, which builds VR environments for businesses. But he added that for businesses, operating in the virtual worlds of the metaverse is still “quite a stretch.”
VR headsets are already popular with some gamers, but Meta knows that won’t be enough to make the metaverse mainstream. As such, it’s setting office — and home office — workers in its sights.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described the metaverse as an immersive virtual environment, a place people can virtually “enter” rather than just staring at it on a screen. The company is investing billions in its metaverse plans that will likely take years to pay off.
The Meta Quest Pro is available now to preorder for $1,499.99 and will launch on Oct. 25. It’s currently available for preorder on Amazon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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