The next Meta Quest could be cheaper and do away with controllers

The next Meta Quest could be cheaper and do away with controllers

Meta Quest 3 could be followed by a cheaper headset without controllers next year, writes Mark Gurman.

The well-informed journalist writes in the latest issue of his newsletter that Meta wants to lower the price of the next Quest device.

Meta Quest 3 launches on October 10 and starts at $499, while the three-year-old Meta Quest 2 will remain on sale for now at a price of $299. According to Gurman, Meta wants to bring the next Quest down to that price point.

Specific rumors about a low-cost headset, codenamed Ventura, coming out in 2024 that would follow in the footsteps of the Meta Quest 2 in terms of price and replace it, surfaced in the spring. So far, however, there have been no details on the technology and which features of the Quest 3 Meta might cut in order to launch a cheaper headset.

"The company would like to get the price back down to that previous $300 level, which would help introduce mixed reality to a broader market," Gurman wrote, hinting that the next headset could continue to feature advanced mixed reality. "For next year, Meta is planning a cheaper mixed-reality headset that looks a lot like the Quest 3 but uses less costly components, I’m told."

Meta said to be afraid of Apple

According to Gurman, Meta is considering releasing the headset without controllers and selling them separately instead. The device's primary input method would then be hand tracking, similar to the Apple Vision Pro. In my opinion, this rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. Meta Quest is primarily a game console, and the vast majority of VR games would not be playable with hand tracking alone, which I think casts doubt on these plans.

According to a person inside Meta, the company is in the "We're in the 'afraid of Apple' stage," Gurman writes. That's despite the fact that Vision Pro costs seven times more than a Meta Quest 3. Mark Zuckerberg has also said before that he doesn't want to be dismissive of Apple's efforts.

Gurman claims that Meta has responded to the unveiling of Vision Pro by adjusting its marketing strategy. For example, Quest 3 is now promoted as a "gaming and productivity tool" rather than a portal to the metaverse.

Gaming is the Meta Quest's biggest strength, while work and productivity are still an afterthought compared to the Vision Pro. In this area, Meta is working with Microsoft to bring Office apps and then Windows to the headset in the coming months.


Vision Pro successor in early development phase

Apple's headset, which will launch in the U.S. first in early 2024, will also have to prove itself in the market for the $3,500 the company is asking.

According to Gurman, Apple's dedicated headset division, called the Vision Products Group, is already working on next-generation devices. He said the company is considering several options, including a cheaper model and a more powerful version. Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently reported that Apple may have canceled plans for a low-cost Vision Pro.

"Work on the next Vision Pro remains early, but the company is hoping to make the device lighter and at least slightly smaller," Gurman wrote. The current version weighs about a pound and has caused neck strain in some persons during internal testing, he said.

Meta doubles down on smart glasses

Gurman also reports that Meta plans to launch smart glasses with displays in 2025.

This information coincides with a hardware roadmap that leaked earlier this year, according to which the third generation of Ray-Ban smartglasses would feature a display. "Meta is testing the screens internally now, and they show things like text messages, map directions and information about music that’s currently being played. But Meta hasn’t finalized exactly what it will release," Gurman writes.

Gurman says Apple put its smart glasses plans on hold a year ago because of technical hurdles. But he expects Apple to revive the effort.

Meta is launching the second generation of Ray-Ban smartglasses next week, with all-around improved technology and new features like livestreaming and basic AI assistance.

Sources: Bloomberg/Power On Newsletter: Apple’s Challenge for the Next Vision Pro: Making It Easier to Wear