Meta's new VR headset, the Meta Quest Pro, is getting a more affordable sibling in 2023 to vie for the title of best VR headset. While Meta hasn't confirmed that the device will be called the Meta Quest 3, it has confirmed that the headset exists and is coming next year.
The confirmation came from Meta's finance boss Dave Whener during the company's latest earnings call, with him stating that "the next generation of the consumer Quest headset" would launch in 2023.
Whener has spoken about the device before, telling Stratechery's Ben Thompson (opens in new tab) that "there will be a Quest 3 and that’s in the price range of $300, $400, or $500, that zone." But the confirmation during the call must have cheered up Meta investors, for whom the rest of the call was about as welcome as a late-night phone call about an ageing relative. Meta's VR adventures are losing an absolute fortune.
Virtual reality is costing Meta real money
Meta has revealed that Reality Labs, its VR division, isn't so much losing money as throwing it in a skip and setting it on fire. It lost a whopping $3.7 billion in the third quarter of 2022, up from $2.8 billion in the previous quarter and contributing to a total 2022 loss so far of over 9 billion dollars. Whener says next year will be even worse.
Facebook's parent is hardly bankrupt; it logged revenues of $28 billion. But with Mark Zuckerberg effectively betting the farm on the metaverse and committing to ever-increasing losses for the foreseeable future, that's going to put pressure on the rest of the company to boost revenues – and I think that's likely to mean even more aggressive pushing of content you didn't ask for on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Meta's investors aren't entirely happy about things either. One open letter from a key investor says "Meta needs to get its mojo back" and demands spending on VR be capped at $5 billion a year; Meta's "estimated $100B+ investment in an unknown future is super-sized and terrifying, even by Silicon Valley standards." Mark Zuckerberg may be committed to Meta's VR adventures. but it seems that others' patience may be wearing thin.