Mark Zuckerberg and his company Meta (formerly Facebook) are making strides in the augmented reality (AR) world with the release of their new headset, the Meta Quest 3. Unveiled at the Meta Connect event on September 27, the Quest 3 is a significant improvement over earlier models, offering better performance, enhanced mixed-reality features, and a more comfortable design. Priced at $500, it is a more affordable option compared to Apple’s alternative, the Vision Pro, which costs a staggering $3,499.
The Meta Quest 3 boasts a stronger processor, a higher-resolution display, revamped Touch Plus controllers, and a slimmer physique compared to its predecessors. It allows for mixed-reality experiences through Meta Reality, combining the virtual and real worlds. For example, users can play a virtual piano on their real-life coffee table or use their physical surroundings to avoid virtual gunfire.
The headset provides access to the Meta Quest virtual library, which now includes popular VR-friendly games like Roblox, as well as upcoming integration with Xbox cloud gaming. This feature allows gamers to play titles such as Halo and Minecraft on a large screen anywhere.
Preorders for the Meta Quest 3 are now open, and the headset will be officially available in stores on October 10. It comes in two storage options: 128GB and 512GB.
Meta’s quest to dominate the headset space, which they refer to as the “first mainstream mixed reality headset,” puts them in direct competition with Apple. Zuckerberg strategically teased the Quest 3 just days before Apple’s unveiling of the Vision Pro. The rivalry between the two companies has been characterized by competition over various features and policies, including news and messaging functionalities, data privacy, and app store regulations.
While Meta has been the dominant player in the headset market, it has struggled to attract a mainstream audience. According to reports, their socializing app in VR, Horizon Worlds, had only 200,000 active users. Despite Meta’s efforts, consumer adoption of mixed reality headsets remains a significant challenge. Analysts assert that a wide range of compelling use cases and experiences must be available to convince consumers of the devices’ value.
In addition to the Meta Quest 3, Meta also showcased advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) during the Meta Connect conference. These include AI-assisted image editing and creation on Instagram, AI chatbot characters with celebrity voices, and Meta AI, their conversational assistant. Meta AI is currently in beta and available on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, with plans for integration with Ray-Ban’s Meta smart glasses and the Quest 3. The new version of the smart glasses features improved audio and camera capabilities, a slimmer design, expanded charging case power, and hands-free livestreaming to Facebook and Instagram. The glasses are priced at $299 and are available for preorder through Meta or Ray-Ban.
The release of the Meta Quest 3 and Meta’s AI advancements signal their commitment to dominating the AR space. As the battle between Meta and Apple intensifies, the real challenge lies in convincing the general public of the value and potential of mixed reality headsets.