The Meta Quest Pro is $1,499 or a PS5, Xbox Series X, and Quest 2

If there were any doubts that Meta’s virtual reality experiment would prioritize workplace productivity over gaming, they disappeared on Tuesday, when the company revealed the price of its latest VR headset, the Quest Pro: $1,499.

No, it’s not a typo. For almost the same price as a Quest Pro, consumers could buy a PlayStation 5, an Xbox Series X, and a Quest 2 VR headset. These are three high-end gaming platforms. A gamer could purchase four of the latest Nintendo Switch OLED models. Many gaming PCs also cost less than the Quest Pro.

Forget all the improved specs, increased resolution, new features, or any other changes from the Quest 2. As impressive as they are, they’re all functionally irrelevant. There’s only one stat that matters to the Quest Pro if you’re using it for entertainment, and that’s the price.

The Quest Pro pricing announcement, made during the Oct. 11 Meta Connect event, serves as a hard pivot from its friendly pricing for the Quest 2, the previous version of Meta’s VR bundle that made its debut. debuting in 2020. 2 first retailed at $299 for the cheapest model and $399 for one with expanded storage. Meta raised the price of both versions by $100 earlier this year, citing supply chain and production issues.

Inside Zuckerberg’s $1,500 helmet, the Metaverse is still out of reach

The logic behind the Quest 2’s relatively affordable price tag was quite simple: to attract more people to VR. With more users, software companies would have more incentive to develop games and other apps, which have been spared to date, knowing that there was a larger potential consumer base along the way.

This logic disappears when you apply a price of $1,500 on a new platform. Instead, it is replaced with questions. The first is: who is it for? Because it is absolutely not for gamers.

Virtual reality has suffered for years from the absence of the proverbial “killer app”, the game that makes consumers feel like they have to buy a particular gaming platform in order not to miss a thing. Overall gaming inventory has been thin for VR, giving gamers little reason to splurge on a headset. And that was before Quest 2’s price jumped $299.

At $1,500, what exactly is going to provide that motivation? The bar is literally five times higher now.

The best VR apps and games

Whatever the motivation, these don’t appear to be games – at least not based on the ones shown at Meta Connect, of which there were only a handful. “Iron Man VR”, a game previously available on PS VR, is coming to the Quest store. There was an alternate cinematic teaser for a new IP called “Behemoth” by Skydance, the developer behind “The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners,” which also boasted new content. “Population: One”, the VR battle royale title, is getting a sandbox mode allowing players to create their own maps. Even the addition of Microsoft’s cloud streaming service adds little excitement. Who wants to play 2D games while wearing a headset?

None of this is enticing enough to drive adoption of VR at the $1,500 price tag. There’s exponentially more inventory of games, with better experiences, available on immersive next-gen consoles for a third of the price. Oh, and by the way, a new VR headset from PlayStation, the PS VR 2, is coming soon. (PS VR2 pricing has yet to be announced; the original PS VR device launched at $399).

Again, who is going to buy the Meta Quest Pro?

Impressions: Tried the new PlayStation VR2. It’s immersive and comfortable to wear.

My guess: Meta bypasses individual consumers to focus on businesses instead. If you think of the Quest Pro through the lens of a workplace productivity device, one that is bought by companies for their employees – pre-packaged with productivity and collaboration software – instead of being a -form of entertainment, the price becomes a little easier to understand. .

“This is the first release in the line of work VR devices we’re shipping,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta. told The Verge on Tuesday. “Basically, it’s a step towards the 200 million people who buy new PCs every year and start doing some of the work in VR.”

Meta positions the building of the metaverse around enterprise functionality. So what will happen to the other elements of Meta’s VR ecosystem if it’s primarily about defining the Quest Pro as a new-age desktop computer? Meta also touted the health and fitness apps available on Quest. Are people going to spend $1,500 on headphones, on top of a monthly subscription to apps like Supernatural? Or will they just buy a Peloton instead of sweating all over their helmet/metaverse boardroom?

Regardless of Meta’s ability to successfully build the Metaverse, the impact of its decision to dramatically increase the price of its first VR headset is worth watching in the months ahead. Previously, it seemed like Meta was throwing the doors wide open to its virtual worlds, enticing consumers with access to virtual reality for a few hundred dollars. It seemed like VR could finally reach the kind of critical mass that would entice both new users and new developers to create for the platform.

Now the invite – for a cover charge of $1,499 – looks much less appealing. And if consumers hesitate, will software companies follow?

About Cedric Lloyd

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