During its Connect conference, meta will launch the company’s next VR headset in October. The CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement late Thursday evening, fittingly in a similarly surreal setting on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Spotify.
He explained that the forthcoming VR headset, a sequel to the well-known Oculus 2, will focus on “social presence,” with features such as face-tracking and eye-tracking. Zuckerberg claimed that the headset is specifically designed to record users’ facial expressions and allow them to be replicated by their virtual avatars in real-time to increase non-verbal communication. Zuckerberg also said that although Meta’s AR glasses are still a few years from being released, the headset launched in October will come with mixed reality capabilities.
At the last Connect conference last year, Meta announced a top-of-the-line headset named “Project Cambria,” according to Zuckerberg’s description of the headset, it appears that the one coming out in October will be the first consumer version of the headset. Bloomberg this month reported that Meta’s official iPhone application for VR headsets indicated that the new headset would be dubbed Meta Quest Pro.
In The Joe Rogan podcast, Zuckerberg frequently emphasized that VR can “unlock” a sense of being with an individual.
“When you’re in a video chat, it doesn’t feel like you’re in the same room in the same room with your partner. What virtual reality does is make your brain believe you’re there,” he explained.
In the years since Facebook was changed to Meta, the company has been reframing the entire company as a “metaverse” business rather than one that is a social media company and has been describing its strategy as one of creating a whole universe of different virtual worlds that are accessible to everyone. Some might be skeptical of the concept and the motive behind the shift in messaging; however, the company has moved forward and worked to make it easier for users to connect the various kinds of experiences it is developing. Horizon Worlds, for example, is a platform for social interaction explicitly designed for VR headsets available in a few countries. It’s been criticized for poor graphics, but, as such, claims about the future VR headset that captures faces will also be tested.
The announcement of Meta comes just weeks since the firm raised the cost for Oculus 2 from $299 to $399. Although there are no pricing details on the headset’s upcoming release, Zuckerberg described it as a “pretty big step above Oculus 2,” which means it’s likely to be more expensive than $400.