Meta Quest 3 to Launch in Late 2023
Meta’s CFO told investors that the company’s “next generation consumer Quest” will hit the market “later next year”.
Meta CFO Susan Li was speaking at the company’s Q3 2022 earnings call where she mentioned the “next generation consumer Quest”. She also used the occasion to warn investors of rising costs next year.
Li says Meta’s growth in the cost of revenue is “expected to accelerate” mainly due to infrastructure-related expenses, as well as Reality Lab hardware costs from the launch of the company’s next generation of its consumer headset “later next year”.
Reality Labs is the Meta division steering its XR projects including the Quest headsets, Meta’s smart glasses, Meta Avatars, Horizon as well as research and development work into the company’s future XR devices such as AR glasses and the neural wristband project.
Zuckerberg recently revealed that the company will be releasing a Quest 3 headset that will be priced in the range of $300, $400, or $500 and thereabouts. However, he was categorical that the Meta Quest 3 won’t be launching in 2022. Zuckerberg first confirmed the development of the Quest 3 headset in a 2021 interview. Meta’s current consumer headset is the Meta Quest 2 so Li’s comments about the “next generation consumer Quest” is most certainly referring to the Quest 3 headset.
Li also expressed concerns about the cost of growth suggesting that Quest 3’s lower price range of $300 to $500 will be realized through price subsidization as was the case with Meta Quest 2 which was launched for just $300.
There have been a number of hints and leaks about Meta’s upcoming Quest 3 headset. At the Connect 2022 event, the company’s “Consulting CTO” John Carmack stated that the company’s future headsets would feature support for a 120Hz refresh rate.
In late September 2022, YouTuber and XR hardware analyst Brad Lynch (better known by the handle SadlyItsBradley), leaked apparent schematics of the Quest 3 headset. The headset seen in the leaked Lynch schematics doesn’t appear to have eye tracking and face tracking, unlike the high-end Quest Pro headset which has both features. However, the schematics show the Quest 3 headset has a slimmer design than the Quest 2 headset thanks to the use of pancake lenses in the former. The Quest 3 headset also has a depth sensor for mixed-reality functions. The leaked schematics should, however, be treated with caution as Meta has multiple Quest 3 prototypes and the schematics Lynch leaked may just be one of them.
The biggest improvement in the Quest 3 headset wasn’t shown in the schematics but in the chip. Most of the current mainstream virtual reality headsets are powered by the first XR2 chip that Qualcomm retroactively renamed Gen 1. The XR2 Gen 1 chip is a variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 smartphone chip which the company shipped in early 2020. The 865 chip has since been followed by two new generations of chips including the 888 and the 8 Gen 1 chip. The naming convention was changed following the release of the latest model of the chip.
Meta will be using Qualcomm’s chips into the foreseeable future. The company recently announced its multiyear partnership with the chipmaker aimed at developing next-generation Snapdragon chipsets. The Quest 3 headset will reportedly use the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip which is yet to be announced. This is according to a Lynch source who revealed details about the upcoming headset.
According to import logs, the upcoming XR2 Gen 2 chip is a variant of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and will likely be announced next month at the Snapdragon Summit. If Qualcomm’s new chipset will deliver even a slight performance boost over the 8 Gen 1, the GPU of the Quest 3 headset should be at least two times as powerful as that of the Quest 2 headset. This would enable the rendering of high-fidelity graphics on higher resolut5ion displays. It would even support completely new games that can’t be run on the Quest 2 headset.
Both the Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets were announced at Meta’s annual Connect conference which occurs around October. It is therefore plausible that the ”late next year” launch date for the Quest 3 headset Li is talking about may actually be at Connect 2023 event.