Oculus Quest 3 Could Be Quite Different
During Facebook’s Q4 earnings call this week, the company boss Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the successor to the Oculus Quest 2 headset was already in development.
The new standalone virtual reality headset was front and center during this week earnings call. The Quests 2 headset itself has already seen some impressive success and has been able to further penetrate the consumer market. Zuckerberg has described it as the first mainstream VR headset. The success has largely been as a result if its industry-leading specs and competitive pricing; the headset is even cheaper than the original Quest headset in spite of the fact that it offers users superior specs and better performance.
During the January earnings call, Zuckerberg stated that the new Quest headset under development, let’s call it Oculus Quest 3, will fit the same Quest platform and the content that currently works on the Oculus Quest 2 headset will also be forward-compatible with the upcoming Oculus Quest 3. Facebook will, as a result, build one large installed base for all its virtual reality headsets.
During the holiday shopping season last year, the Oculus Quest 2 was one of the most sought-after Christmas gift items. The Quest headset enables owners to play and interact with friends that they couldn’t otherwise meet in person. The headset also enables users to exercise in their living rooms and meet their co-workers while they are working from home.
The Oculus Quest 2 Ecosystem is Growing
While Zuckerberg did not provide any specifics on its sales figures, the company gave an update on its developer sales. According to Facebook, more than 60 of studios on its VR ecosystem have now grossed over $1 million in sales in its Quest store. In September 2020 just before the launch of the Quest 2 headset, that figure stood at just 35 studios. In just a few months, the number of financially successful studios has almost doubled, a positive result that has no doubt been influenced by the success of the Quest 2 headset.
Facebook also revealed other numbers listed under “other sales.” This is the income generated outside its advertising business and includes both hardware and software sales. In the fourth quarter, this “other sales” figure stood at $885 million, a 156% rise year over year. According to Facebook CFO Dave Wehner, most of this other income was generated from Oculus Quest.
Will Oculus Quest 3 Have AR Focus?
According to Zuckerberg, for the Facebook ecosystem to continue growing, the tech giant must continue investing in content, work with developers and roll out new features for its VR headsets.
One of the most notable statements during the earnings call was the confirmation that Facebook is working on new hardware.
It wasn’t clear whether Zuckerberg was talking about a direct successor to the Quest 2 or a next-generation device further down the line. Zuckerberg talks about the new device fitting the same platform and the content currently running on Quest 2 being forward compatible with this future device. Zuckerberg could be talking about an Oculus Quest 3 headset that will have greatly improved hardware or it could be a completely new and technically advanced device that will have improved video viewing and AR focus. Facebook research leader Michael Abrash has stated in the past that the company’s efforts in this frontier will go from purely VR headsets to XR devices capable of controlling VR and AR through video viewing to slim but functional Augmented Reality glasses that Facebook has branded as the “ultimate product”.
Facebook wants to create a new platform and control it. During the earnings call, Zuckerberg again stressed that virtual reality is a bridging technology and that parts of the basic research that Facebook is currently carrying out in a VR context will eventually flow into the Augmented Reality glasses of the future. According to Zuckerberg, Facebook sees virtual reality as part of a singe and end-to-end ecosystem for spatial and immersive computers and presence.
To realize this goal, long-term investments will be necessary. If this works out and a new type of computing ecosystem emerges that supplants the smartphone, Facebook will no longer be dependent on either Google or Facebook. Zuckerberg says that strategically, it is important for Facebook to have greater control over its fate in terms of the operating systems and platforms on which its services run.
For the time being, however, Facebook is planning data glasses that are not as technically sophisticated and are slated to appear later this year. Zuckerberg did not divulge any new technical details on these data glasses.