Apple is expected VR/AR headset reveal seems to be just around the corner at WWDC, but Meta jumped ahead with some headphone news of its own. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram channel revealed much more about Mission 3, which was expected by the end of this year. The price, starting at $500, will be higher than the Quest 2 but lower than the PlayStation VR 2. Zuckerberg said on his channel that more details about the Quest 3 and the launch date will emerge around the conference for Meta Connect developers on September 27th.
Continuation of 2019 Mission 2, the current most popular headset on the market, the existence of the Quest 3 was already known since last fall. A number of details, including a hands-on test drive of a prototype version, were leaked before Zuckerberg’s news today.
Meanwhile, Quest 2 gets a price drop back to $300 — its original starting price — along with a promised recent software update to improve performance.
Meta also revealed a number of upcoming VR games for Quest 2 and Quest 3 coming this year, including an Assassin’s Creed VR game, a game based on the Attack on Titan anime series, a port of Sega’s classic game Samba de Amigo, and a standalone VR sequel on PC RPG Asgard’s Wrath.
Quest 3 looks very much like a refined and improved offering of what Quest 2 already does, but its speed increases, reduced size, lighter overall weight, improved controllers and mixed reality features should make it a significant update. The new Touch Plus controllers, which promise improved tactics, look more portable and have a similar design to the The Quest Pro controllers minus the built-in cameras.
The Quest 3’s biggest addition is the color cameras, which allow for better mixed reality that mixes real-world video with VR on the headset’s displays, which should enable more AR-type apps to be developed on the Quest platform. The Quest Pro also has mixed reality capabilities, but its higher price has likely limited the development of apps to take advantage of this feature.
The Quest 3 will also feature a new Qualcomm VR/AR chip that promises faster performance. Quest 2’s existing library will run on Quest 3, but it looks like the improved hardware specs could usher in a wave of more advanced games and apps that will likely be exclusive to Quest 3 eventually as well (much like what in eventually happened with Quest 2 and original Quest).
The Quest 3 doesn’t have eye tracking like the much more expensive work-oriented one Quest Pro which debuted last fall, but also seems like an overall better VR headset. Along with the lineup of new VR games announced today, Meta is clearly looking to continue to own the VR gaming console market, as Apple is likely preparing a very different route with its expensive and possibly work-focused headset.