Meta Quest 3: All the facts and rumors
15th of March, 2023:
- Added new sections and information
In 2023, the successor to the Meta Quest 2 will be released. What do we currently know about Meta Quest 3?
Meta Quest 2 (review) is by far the most successful VR headset. The question of what to expect with Meta Quest 3 in terms of new technology and software is exciting.
In this article, we gather what we know about the device and separate facts from rumors. It is to be expected that new details will come to light during the year. The article will therefore be updated regularly.
Is Meta Quest 3 really going to be called that?
In their informal announcements, neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Chief Technology Officer Andrew Bosworth spoke of a “Meta Quest 3.” Zuckerberg called the device the “next generation of our consumer Quest headset” and Bosworth called it the “successor to Meta Quest 2.” Even if the executives do not mention the new headset by name, they probably mean the Meta Quest 3.
The secrecy could be related to the Osborne Effect. Meta wants to avoid consumers waiting for the Meta Quest 3 instead of buying a Meta Quest 2. The product name will most likely not be revealed until the official launch.
When will Meta release the Quest 3?
Since Meta usually unveils new VR hardware at Meta Connect (which usually takes place in September or October) which goes on sale shortly after, we expect a launch in the fall of 2023.
How much will Meta Quest 3 cost?
The final price will probably be announced at the official launch.
Don’t worry: Meta Quest 3 is aimed at consumers and will not be as expensive as Meta Quest Pro, which was released in 2022 and now costs $999.
Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a possible price range of $300 to $500.
In February 2023, the tech magazine The Verge had access to an internal Meta presentation and reported that Meta Quest 3 will “cost slightly more” than the $400 Meta Quest 2.
A cheaper headset, codenamed Ventura, could be released in 2024 and follow in the footsteps of the Meta Quest 2 in terms of price.
What is the product focus of Meta Quest 3?
Meta Quest 3 will have a focus on mixed reality and will use Meta’s own mixed reality system called “Meta Reality”. Mark Zuckerberg confirmed this in an investor conference in February 2023.
Mixed Reality “will be a huge selling point”, according to The Verge’s report. Meta Quest 3, whose internal codename is Stinson, will offer a “smart guardian“ to help navigate the real world while they are wearing the device.
“The main north star for the team was from the moment you put on this headset, the mixed reality has to make it feel better, easier, more natural,” Mark Rabkin, Meta’s VP for VR reportedly said during the leaked Meta presentation. “You can walk effortlessly through your house knowing you can see perfectly well. You can put anchors and things on your desktop. You can take your coffee. You can stay in there much longer.”
What software will Meta Quest 3 offer?
The Meta Quest 3 should support all the software that is available for the Meta Quest 2, but not all software for the Meta Quest 3 might also be available on Meta Quest 2.
If it turns out that the new VR headset gets a much faster SoC than the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro, exclusive software is only a matter of time. The situation was similar for the Meta Quest 2 and its predecessor.
Either way, there’s reason for anticipation on the software front. Meta has acquired nine VR studios since late 2019. Eight of them are gaming studios that have not announced any new titles since the acquisition.
Meta most likely has a number of high-quality in-house productions in the pipeline, and it would be a surprise if some of them weren’t launch titles for the Meta Quest 3 and optimized for the VR headset. These potential VR hits include titles like GTA: San Andreas and Assassin’s Creed Nexus.
The Verge reported that, according to Meta’s VP of VR, Meta is shipping “41 new apps and games” for Meta Quest 3, “including new mixed reality experiences to take advantage of the updated hardware.”
Leaks and rumors
The only solid leak so far comes from hardware analyst and Youtuber Bradley Lynch, who received CAD blueprints of a presumed Quest 3 prototype in October. Lynch had previously leaked similar blueprints of the Meta Quest Pro, which subsequently proved to be accurate. So there’s a good chance that the leak is true.
According to Lynch’s sources, there are three prototypes of the Meta Quest 3. The blueprints supposedly show the prototype Meta settled on. However, the hardware analyst admits that little things could change before mass production. This also happened with the Meta Quest Pro.
Pancake lenses & improved form factor
The drawings provide information about the VR headset’s appearance and technical features. The improved form factor catches the eye. The case looks thinner and smaller than that of the Meta Quest 2.
A report from The Verge later confirmed that Meta Quest 3 will be „two times thinner“.
All of this suggests that the new VR headset will feature Meta’s new pancake lenses, which first found their way into the Meta Quest Pro.
In a blog article published in late 2022, Meta writes that four years of research and development went into the lenses and that the company set up an entirely new supply chain to manufacture them. It’s unlikely that Meta went to such lengths just for the tiny Meta Quest Pro market.
If Meta Quest 3 gets the same pancake lenses as the premium headset, we can expect a much sharper image than Meta Quest 2. As for the headband, don’t get your hopes up. Meta Quest 3 might go back to a cheap fabric strap to reduce costs and offer a more stable and comfortable head mount as an accessory.
Color passthrough and mixed reality
What also stands out are the pill-shaped indentations on the front, which are likely meant for a high-quality color passthrough. According to Lynch, these are two black-and-white cameras, two RGB cameras, and a depth camera. That is twice as many front-facing sensors as in the Meta Quest Pro.
This sensor architecture suggests that the big new hardware feature of the Meta Quest 3 will be mixed reality. That’s not too much of a surprise. After all, the Meta Quest Pro primarily serves as a devkit that studios can use to get an early start on developing mixed reality apps for the Meta Quest 3.
Sensors for gaze and face tracking, on the other hand, are not in the construction plans. This is surprising, since Zuckerberg gave these technologies a high priority, hinting that they will be a fundamental part of future headsets.
One hardware feature that the Meta Quest 3 could inherit from the Meta Quest Pro is charging contacts on the bottom of the headset. These are clearly visible on the blueprints and suggest that Meta will sell a separately available charging station for the VR headset.
Two LC displays and a new generation of chips
Lynch’s sources reportedly sent him more details about the technology not deducible from the blueprints. According to these, the Meta Quest 3 will be equipped with two LC displays instead of a single one. Users will be able to adjust the lens and display distance with a dial clearly visible on the blueprint.
Strings in the Quest firmware also suggest that Meta Quest 3 relies on a single display: The internal prototype apparently offers a resolution of 2,064 by 2,208 pixels per eye. That would be a 30 percent increase in pixels over Meta Quest 2. The refresh rate is specified at 90 Hz, but a 120 Hz configuration has also appeared in the firmware.
Lynch speculates that Meta will rely on a new generation Snapdragon XR2. The aging SoC powers the Meta Quest 2 (2020), Vive Focus 3 (2021), and Pico 4 (2022), among others.
The new chip, supposedly named Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, allegedly brings a 2.5x increase in GPU performance alongside other key improvements, such as in AI computing capabilities that are important for mixed reality. However, Qualcomm has not even unveiled the new SoC yet.
The Verge’s report on Meta’s internal presentation confirmed in March 2023 that Meta Quest 3 will be “at least twice as powerful” as Meta Quest 2.
Finally, Lynch says Meta could offer higher-priced versions of the Meta Quest 3 with up to 512 gigabytes of storage and 12 gigabytes of RAM.
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