Meta’s got a lot on its metaphorical plate, from the recent announcement of its latest VR/AR headset, the Meta Quest 3, to its social media platform launch to rival Twitter, Threads. The company is reportedly cutting back on some of its projects, including its most high-end, mixed-reality headset, the Meta Quest Pro, by nixing the project and discontinuing work on a Quest Pro 2.
Reports from The Information claim that Goertek, the Quest Pro manufacturer, will only build headsets as long as the available material supply allows. Meta told its suppliers as early as the beginning of the year that it would not need any new components for the Quest Pro.
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The company is also shutting down the development of a second-generation Quest Pro. With the upcoming launch of the Meta Quest 3, it appears Meta might want to focus on more affordable headsets.
The Meta Quest Pro had only launched in October, after much anticipation from fans of the mixed reality community. Upon its release, Meta marketed it as a VR/AR headset aimed at professionals more than a gaming device.
The Quest Pro quickly attracted criticism for a design that left much to be desired, thanks to its heavy weight and awkward fit along the forehead, its cheap feel, and an underwhelming software platform. When the price of the Quest Pro was announced at $1,500, many were outraged at the steep cost – Meta ended up dropping the price to $1,000.
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Meta is preparing to launch the Quest 3 after almost three years since the release of its predecessor, the Quest 2. The Quest 3 will reportedly offer a superior XR experience to the Quest Pro, as it will feature a higher resolution, a depth sensor, and two 4MP cameras instead of one.
The new line of Meta AR glasses also won’t feature new high-end displays, as was originally intended. The same report from The Information states Meta’s AR glasses, known as Artemis, will instead feature Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS), an older glass lens and display technology. The biggest problem with this tech is that it lacks brightness, a necessary trait for AR glasses to display graphics onto objects in bright environments.
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Meta’s Artemis AR glasses will also only feature a 50-degree field of view, compared to the 70-degree FOV originally planned. A lidar sensor on the Artemis’ wireless puck, which accompanies the glasses to offload parts of the computing, was also removed to cut costs. It would’ve helped detect the device’s surroundings and incorporate them better into the digital world.
Whether or not Meta will dive back into the professional audience remains to be seen. The company will likely return to high-end VR/AR production if Apple’s Vision Pro does well and the market takes off. However, Meta’s software platform still has a long way to go to satisfy the high-end, mixed reality market the Quest Pro aimed at.