Why Meta Quest 3 should come with an included charging station
Meta Quest 3 will launch later this year. Hopefully, with a charging station similar to Meta Quest Pro included.
Virtual reality has a lot of usability issues. If the technology causes too much friction, people will use it less often or not at all. The devices disappear in the cabinet.
Former Oculus CTO John Carmack knows this all too well and has called for a better user experience with Meta Quest at every opportunity.
The standalone VR headset was a giant step forward in this regard, as it eliminated the need for an external device (PC, smartphone). But the headset is far from perfect in terms of usability.
The advantages of a charging station
Here's a real-life example from a Quest user: When I turn on my Meta Quest 2, I often have to install updates for games or basic Meta Quest apps, which takes time. Now, those updates are automatically installed overnight, but only if you leave the device in sleep mode, which I've been doing for a few weeks now.
However, this led to a new problem: When I reach for the VR headset, the integrated battery is often already half empty because the sleep mode consumes uses energy.
I recently started using a charging station for the Playstation VR 2's Sense controllers, an accessory that has proven to be a good investment. The input devices are always neatly in place and ready to go without me having to worry about the charge level. The accessories have changed the way I look at VR.
A simple charging station for the next Meta Quest 3 and its controllers (similar to Meta Quest Pro) would be one of Meta's best ways to increase the usability of the system. It could be sold as an accessory, or better yet, included in the package. That way, Meta Quest 3 owners would certainly reach for the headset more often.
Retention makes the difference
The so-called retention rate of VR is a much discussed topic in the industry and its crucial question: How many people actually return to virtual reality days and weeks after purchase and use the technology again and again? Because only these kinds of users buy VR apps on a regular basis and keep the ecosystem alive.
According to one report, Meta Quest had 6.37 million monthly active users as of October 2022. If that number is correct, it would be an impressive retention rate, given the roughly 20 million headsets sold and the awkwardness and problems the technology still suffers from, such as the Meta Quest 2's form factor and weight and its software quirks.
6 million monthly active users: That still wouldn't be big enough for an exponentially growing ecosystem, at least by Zuckerberg's metric, but it's halfway there.
An included charging station would be one of several important factors that could help increase that number in the future. The formula for success is simple: Virtual Reality needs to be simple, fast, and ready to go. Period.