XR Update: The week's top VR, AR, and Mixed Reality news in a nutshell

XR Update: The week's top VR, AR, and Mixed Reality news in a nutshell

Meta Quest 3 refurbished for less money, an impressive VR kayaking trip, Netflix in the browser on Quest 3 and Apple Vision Pro launching outside the US in July — the week's top news stories.


In our weekly XR Update, you can always find the most important XR news of the last five days with a short summary. If you are interested in a particular topic, click on the link to the full article in the relevant section. As usual, we provide you with background information and opinions in addition to the facts.

Have fun browsing!

XR hardware: News on VR, AR and Mixed Reality headsets

Meta sells refurbished Quest 3 at a reduced price, but only in the USA

Meta is now offering a refurbished version of the Quest 3 at reduced prices in its own US store. Both models are affected, with a discount of approximately 10 percent. According to Meta, the refurbished units have been rigorously tested to ensure they work and look like new. There is a 30-day return policy and a 1-year limited warranty.

Meta Quest: Valve tests panel mode for Steam Link

The latest beta version of Steam Link now allows you to stream traditional games directly into your environment. Previously, Steam Link for Meta Quest switched to its own environment, similar to Virtual Desktop and Air Link. According to VR enthusiast Brad Lynch, the new beta allows you to play 2D games in panel mode, which is a window directly in the system environment, either in passthrough view or in a virtual launch environment. Streaming should work from any source device that supports Steam Remote Play.


Canon introduces new & cheaper VR lens — What the expert says

Canon is expanding its VR portfolio and will soon be launching a new twin-lens lens that will reduce entry-level costs. The Canon RF-S3.9mm F3.5 STM Dual Fisheye Lens is aimed at content creators who want to produce immersive videos for YouTube and other platforms. The autofocus feature is new and enables precise shots. The price for the complete equipment with matching camera is around 2,600 US dollars. VR expert Daniel Pohl sees this as a positive step towards encouraging more people to create immersive media, even if the viewing angle is somewhat limited.

Apple Vision Pro: visionOS 2 brings these new features

Apple announced visionOS 2 for Apple Vision Pro at WWDC. New features include the ability to convert "flat" photos into spatial photos, SharePlay support for the Photos app, an improved Mac Virtual Display, Magic Mouse and keyboard support, a customizable Home view, AirPlay, an enhanced Travel mode, new hand gestures, and real-time captioning. Apple also introduced new interfaces and frameworks to accelerate and extend app development for Vision Pro. VisionOS 2 will be available as a free update in the fall of 2024.

Apple Vision Pro launches outside the US

Apple Vision Pro will soon be available outside the United States. In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, the device will be available for pre-order on June 13 and will be available for purchase on June 28. In Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, pre-orders will begin on June 28, with a launch date of July 12. International pricing has not yet been announced.

XR market and business news

Metaverse platform VRChat lays off 30 percent of its workforce

VRChat is not growing as fast as it was during the pandemic. For this and other reasons, the platform is laying off 30 percent of its staff. CEO Graham Gaylor cites the fact that too many people were hired during the pandemic, which became apparent in 2022 when VRChat's growth, and VR in general, slowed. Other reasons included poor personnel management and a difficult time raising capital.



John Carmack wanted to "kill" Meta Quest Pro

John Carmack did not believe in the success of Meta Quest Pro and tried to stop the project. The market proved him right. "I tried hard to kill the Pro completely, I had very high confidence that it would be a commercial failure and distract the teams for a year, preventing them from doing more valuable work on mass market products.," Carmack writes. He is a proponent of low-cost VR headsets and does not believe that high-end technology will make a significant difference in the industry.

VR games and XR apps: all the latest news

Playstation VR 2: New graphics benchmark? — Soca Valley tried out

Soča Valley is one of the most graphically stunning VR experiences that takes full advantage of Playstation VR 2 and is the first paid DLC for Kayak VR: Mirage. The true-to-life recreation of Slovenia's Soča Valley, with its green waters, imposing cliffs and wildlife, comes into its own with Playstation VR 2. The new whitewater section is an exciting, but unfortunately brief, spectacle. Despite minor graphical shortcomings, Soča Valley sets a new graphical benchmark for PSVR 2.

Meta Quest 3: What's the new Netflix experience like?

Meta Quest has recently added support for Netflix in the browser. Compared to the native app, the browser version offers two modes, different screen sizes, and a resolution of 1080p instead of 480p. The full-screen mode has a curved screen and allows you to watch movies while lying down. Overall, the new Netflix experience on Quest is a pleasure, but there is still room for improvement — 4K and a download option are still missing.

Playstation VR 2: Astro Bot was never planned for VR, says studio boss

The new Astro Bot is only coming to PS5, not Playstation VR 2. Studio head Nicolas Doucet says that the studio wanted to make a bigger version of Astro's Playroom and Playstation VR 2 was not considered. Hybrid development is not suitable for third-person games. He also ruled out a future VR port. As a profit-oriented company, Sony wants to achieve sales in the millions. The fact that Team Asobi relied on the PS5 from the start raises the question of whether Sony had doubts about the success of the VR system even before the launch of Playstation VR 2.


Playstation VR 2: A horror game delights fans

Star Wars: Tales of the Galaxy's Edge and the horror game Madison VR were the top selling titles for Playstation VR 2 in May. Madison VR is billed as the scariest video game ever made. Despite flaws in object interaction and puzzle design, the VR port is guaranteed to give you the creeps.

Flight Simulator 2024: Microsoft promises a "spectacular" VR experience

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will be released in November with VR support. In a livestream, the leading developers confirmed that Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 will support PC VR. Performance improvements are on the way that will benefit the VR mode. Its predecessor already supported VR headsets on the PC out of the box, and according to Microsoft, about 10 percent of users play exclusively in VR.

Overview of all previous XR updates