Meta's next generation VR headset, codenamed Project Cambria, is coming sooner than expected. In an interview with the controversial Spotify podcaster Joe Rogan, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the headset will be "coming out in October" – most likely around the annual Connect conference Meta runs every October. That means it'll beat the PSVR 2 and Apple's AR/VR headset to market by a long margin.
According to Zuckerberg, the new headset will use eye tracking so that you can "kind of have eye contact in virtual reality" and mimic your facial expression; it'll also enable Zuckerberg to smell your hair and go through your bins when you sleep. I'm lying about that second one. I think.
The new headset may be called the Meta Quest Pro, and it'll sit above the Meta Quest 2 in the Oculus line-up. And that means there's one pretty obvious bit of bad news for potential buyers.
The Meta Quest Pro won't be cheap
Earlier this month, Meta upped the price of its Meta Quest 2 from $299 to $399 for the cheapest model. It also put up the price of Quest accessories. That doesn't bode well for its newer, higher specification headset: while many Oculus fans were hoping that the next headset would be priced similarly to the Quest 2 (at its original price) that looks exceptionally unlikely now. As we've previously reported, a leaked internal roadmap indicates a proposed price of $799 (around £640 / AU$1,125) – but that was back in May, long before Meta started upping its headset prices.
The Meta Quest Pro is Meta's most important VR headset: in addition to gaming, Meta intends to really push the device into business and industry sectors. Part of that is to offset the money Facebook is losing from Apple's improved privacy protections, which has made it harder for the Facebook app and site to track and store people's online behaviours.
Business products tend to be less price sensitive than consumer products, but that's a market where Meta faces competition that doesn't exist in the consumer sector: both Microsoft and Google are investing heavily in augmented/mixed reality tech for enterprise customers.
It'll be interesting to see how the Meta headset fares in those two very different markets: both Apple and Sony are focusing very much on the consumer market, and Microsoft and Google on the enterprise sector. Can Meta be successful in both? We'll find out in a few weeks.