Meta’s Connect 2022 brought several announcements on how the company is progressing towards its vision of the Metaverse. The announcements most notably include the Meta Quest Pro, the company’s high-end VR headset coming in at $1499.99. After being teased for nearly a year, the headset is finally expected to ship around October 25.
Outside of this one product launch, most of the other announcements involved Meta pushing for VR and its various implementations, especially in the Office as the company announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows workspace tools to VR. Another partnership announced was with NBCUniversal, which brings the streaming app Peacock to Quest in a multiyear deal.
Other than that, in an attempt to get more people hooked on Horizon Worlds, the company also announced that clips from the VR platform can now be shared on reels. Last but not least, your digital avatar in Horizon Worlds will finally get legs which use an AI model to predict body movements so as to make the entire avatar feel more life-like and organic.
A new VR headset
- After almost a year of teasing, Meta has finally announced the Quest Pro, its $1499.99 standalone VR headset which features four cameras and full-colour passthrough to allow for Mixed Reality experiences as well.
- There are significant hardware changes underneath as well. There are new ‘pancake’ lenses, thinning the headset’s profile. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ chipset paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB onboard storage.
- There are two individual 1800 x 1920 mini-LED displays, one for each eye. The headset also integrates eye-tracking in addition to redesigned controllers that trade the tracking rings for three onboard cameras which track the controller’s position relative to the headset.
- The company has also announced a $69.99 product bundle that includes a wipeable facial interface, adjustable knuckle wraps and wrist straps to make the headset better for fitness-related use cases.
- Battery life however is questionable, to say the least. Meta claims anywhere between one to two hours of wireless use only, something that might be a bit of an issue with the fitness and work-related use cases that Meta is pushing for its premium headset.
- The headset is expected to ship starting October 25 with preorders starting October 12. It’ll be available through the Meta Store in as many as 22 countries and will also be available through select retail partners in the US, UK, Canada and France.
Meta and Microsoft collaborate to bring work and VR together
- Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced during Connect 2022 that Microsoft and Meta are partnering to bring Windows apps to the Quest platform.
- Microsoft Teams will integrate with Quest with custom avatars eventually coming to Horizon Worlds. Microsoft will also provide a way to stream Windows apps to Quest headsets, including the entire Microsoft 365 suite, consisting of Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook in their progressive web app form.
- Xbox Cloud Gaming is also coming to the platform and will stream games to a 2D VR screen with support for existing Xbox controllers. Additional features might also come down the line.
Horizon Worlds expands horizons
- The company also announced that users can now record clips on Horizon Worlds and share them as Instagram and Facebook reels.
- This seems like yet another effort to get people onto the company’s flagship VR app which remains rather unpopular despite launching nearly a year ago.
- In another attempt to somehow make Horizon Worlds more appealing to the masses, digital avatars in Meta’s virtual world are now getting legs, powered by an AI model that predicts body movements to make the avatar feel more natural.
Meta finally reveals some revenue numbers
- The company also announced some of its revenue details from the Quest store stating that the store has made over $1.5 billion in games and apps sales so far.
- So far, one-third of the company’s 400 Quest titles have grossed over $1 million in sales. 33 titles have surpassed over $10 million in revenue with some games like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners and Resident Evil both being among the top performers.
- While these numbers might indicate the Quest store is doing well, the $1.5 billion revenue figure still dwarfs in comparison to the $2.8 billion investment Meta made in VR just last quarter.
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