Meta’s Quest 3 headset will have better mixed reality tech, according to Zuckerberg

A key feature from Meta’s $1,499.99 Quest Pro headset will make an appearance — in some form — in a more affordable consumer-focused headset coming later this year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the company’s latest earnings release. That key feature is support for Meta Reality, the technology that’s designed to allow virtual reality headsets to also be used for augmented reality, resulting in a so-called mixed reality headset.

Meta confirmed in a previous earnings call that the headset, likely to be called the Meta Quest 3, is planned for release in late 2023. Zuckerberg expects it to cost between $300 and $500, around a third of the enterprise-focused Quest Pro. 

“The MR [mixed reality] ecosystem is relatively new, but I think it’s going to grow a lot in the next few years,” Zuckerberg said in this week’s earnings call in comments pulled out by UploadVR. “Later this year, we’re going to launch our next generation consumer headset, which will feature Meta Reality as well, and I expect that this is going to establish this technology as the baseline for all headsets going forward, and eventually of course for AR glasses as well.”

“Our next generation consumer headset… will feature Meta Reality”

What’s unclear at the moment is exactly what form the Meta Reality feature will take on a more affordable headset. On the Quest Pro it combines two camera views to reconstruct a 3D view of the real world around you to make it easier to interact with, but who knows if the technology will work the same way on the Quest 3. The current-gen Quest 2, meanwhile, offers more basic video passthrough that shows a low-resolution monochromatic view of the world outside the headset. A previous report suggested the Quest 3 could have a depth sensor to measure the space in front of you or potentially allow for hand-tracking. 

It’s worth noting that despite Meta’s marketing, Meta Reality really wasn’t that impressive on the Quest Pro. “Meta’s color passthrough doesn’t look remotely like the real world,” my colleague Adi wrote in her damning Quest Pro review. “Video footage is fuzzy in the Quest Pro’s grainy display. The feed is murky in low light, washed-out or flickery in bright light, and sometimes luridly saturated in between. Reading real-world phone or computer screens through it is virtually impossible. It’s a fine system for dipping into the physical world while you have a conversation or get a cup of coffee, but it’s not vastly more useful (or pleasant) than the Quest 2’s black-and-white passthrough.” Ouch.

UploadVR reports that other rumored features of the Quest 3 include the use of pancake lenses, which would allow for smaller display panels and a more compact headset overall, and be unpinned by a more powerful Qualcomm processor.

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