Top Reasons for a Meta Quest 3 Headset
Meta has now confirmed that its Quest 2 successor, the Meta Quest 3, will be launching in 2023. We look at the reasons why its release may be a good thing for the market.
Recently, Zuckerberg confirmed that the Meta ‘Quest 3’, the next generation of the consumer Quest headset is launching in 2023. Although Zuckerberg didn’t specifically mention ‘Quest 3’, the allusion to the “next generation of our consumer Quest headset” has been widely interpreted as meaning Meta Quest 3. Meta could unveil the headset at the Meta Connect event in the fall of 2023 and will subsequently go on sale shortly after the reveal. Meta followed a similar launch timeline with its Meta Quest 2 (2020) and the Meta Quest Pro launched at this year’s Meta Connect event.
During his mention of a next-generation Quest headset, Zuckerberg also alluded to the headset’s pricing revealing that it will cost between $300 and $500. Given that the headset will have far much better specs than the current Quest headsets and other consumer virtual reality headsets in the market, it is clear Meta is planning to heavily subsidize this upcoming headset as it did with the two previous generations of Quest headsets. The unsubsidized Quest Pro headset, a device targeting work applications, costs $1,500, which locks out most of the average buyers.
Nothing about the Meta Quest 3 headset has been confirmed at the moment. However, plenty of rumors from different leaks and sources are hovering about the upcoming consumer headset. For instance, YouTuber and XR hardware analyst Brad Lynch leaked CAD drafts of the headset’s prototype, giving a hint about the headset’s design and technology.
Gleaning through this information, we can construct a general picture of what the headset will look like and the kind of features that end users can expect. However, it is important to be cautious as prototypes change a lot and there could also be multiple prototypes. As a result, the final design could be slightly different from the blueprints leaked out so far.
More Power and Improved Graphics
The headset will be powered by a next-gen VR chip: The Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 2. The current generation Meta Quest 2 headset is powered by the previous generation chip, the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 which is derived from Qualcomm’s 2020 smartphone system on chip (SoC). That Quest 2 chip is already outdated.
Initial information shows that Qualcomm has made the new SoC in the 4 nm process, a process that the chipmaker developed in collaboration with Meta. The new SoC brings some considerable improvements in the graphics. The GPU could add anywhere from a 2.5 to 3-fold boost in performance.
The brand new Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 2 chip is likely derived from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphone SoC that has been optimized for both virtual reality and augmented reality uses. Rumors suggest that both of these new chips are set to be unveiled at the Snapdragon Summit which takes place on November 15.
Top Quality Virtual Reality Games
With the Quest 3 headset, we can also expect high-quality virtual reality games that have been developed internally.
A powerful chip in a headset with high-powered specs will need virtual reality apps designed to fully utilize its capabilities. Between 2019 and now, Meta acquired nine virtual reality studios. Eight of these are game studios that are yet to announce any new titles ever since they were acquired.
There is, therefore, the expectation that these many studios have lined up a number of superb titles, some of which will be released for Meta’s next-generation devices such as the Meta Quest 3.
However, there are already tens of millions of Meta Quest 2 headsets currently in circulation s it is logical that many of the games currently under development in-house will also run on the Meta Quest 2 although they will feature some of the optimizations and special features in Meta Quest 3.
Apart from its in-house productions, Meta also has various high-profile commissioned works with third-party studios. These include titles such as GTA: San Andreas and Assassin’s Creed Nexus. The launch of the Meta Quest 3, most likely in the fall of next year, will present an opportune moment to release some of these VR titles.
Slimmer Form Factor
The current trend in XR hardware design and development is towards greater miniaturization so it is expected that the Meta Quest 3 headset will feature a smaller form factor than the current generation Meta Quest 2 headset. This is, indeed, confirmed by leaked CAD blueprints of the headset which show the device will likely have pancake lenses that allow for smaller, lighter, and thinner headsets. The Meta Quest 3 could, therefore, have a smaller form factor than the Meta Quest 2.
Headsets with smaller form factors are highly attractive to consumers. They are likely to be used more often and over an extended duration of time than bulkier and heavier headsets as they are more comfortable to wear and also handy.
Meta has already used the pancake lenses in the Meta Quest Pro headset and its benefits have been quite apparent including slimmer headset designs and a boost in image clarity. Should the Meta Quest 3 headset use these lenses, it will bring these benefits to mainstream consumers shopping for a headset in the $300 to $500 price range.
Leaked blueprints, however, show that the Meta Quest 3 headset will not be as thin and comfortable as the Meta Quest Pro headset. The blueprints show that the battery is still included in the headset casing which gives the headset a more front-heavy design than the Meta Quest Pro.
Mixed Reality Capabilities for the Mainstream Consumer Market
The recently launched Meta Quest Pro has impressive mixed reality capabilities thanks to its color-passthrough functionality. It is expected that Meta that the next Quest generation will offer users new hardware features. The CAD blueprints show that the next-generation Quest headset will have improved passthrough and mixed reality functionalities instead of face and eye tracking.
The high-quality passthrough mode in the headset along with its mixed reality functions minimize the hurdles of using the headset because the technology is no longer considerably divorced from the environment.
The new sensors in the headset are also likely to improve hand tracking which will make the headset better suited for everyday usage. As a result, Meta Quest 3 is likely to be also a consumer-focused mixed reality headset.
Brad Lynch’s leaks showed that the Quest 3 headset would have more passthrough sensors than the Quest Pro as it will feature five cameras. However, those CAD blueprints aren’t necessarily the final design and there is much that could change between now and the release date. The Quest Pro headset, for instance, got rid of its depth sensors just before manufacturing.