When Meta launched the Pro Quest headset in October last year, the company hoped to push the boundaries of virtual technology. He also hoped people would pay more for this luxury than ever before, as the headphones launched with a staggering price tag of $1,500. It seemed like a significant upgrade over the Quest 2 at the time, but we wondered if people would pay that much for a VR device. Now, just nine months later, it seems we have the answer to that question, which is a resounding “no”.
According to a new paywall report from The Information, the company began to cut production of Quest Pro altogether. In a summary ZDNet article, it is noted that Meta told its suppliers earlier this year that it would no longer need parts for the Quest Pro. Additionally, he told his maker, Goertek, to build whatever he could with existing parts and be done with it. Additionally, the company has also canceled development of its successor, the Quest Pro 2. Both actions are a death rattle for the company’s flagship headset, which has already had its lower price from $1,499 to $999, likely due to consumer backlash and negative Comments. This was not a sufficient discount to improve sales.
Marketing for the Quest Pro included this conversation between two virtual people, highlighting the mockery the company faced for its low-res avatars.
In addition to dropping plans for another expensive headset, the company is reportedly lowering its ambitions for its planned augmented reality (AR) glasses. The information reports that the company originally planned to use some sort of high-end display, but switched to an older design known as Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS). Additionally, the company reduced the field of view (FOV) from 70 degrees to 50 degrees and removed a lidar sensor from the outer puck that handles some of the unit’s calculations.
For now, it remains to be seen if Meta will exit the high-end VR battlefield and instead focus on its line of more affordable Quest headsets. Although the Quest family offers mid-range specifications, they have been very popular with consumers, as Meta has sold more than 20 million units. It is also already announced that the Quest 3 will cost $499 and arrive in September and will likely be a hit. It looks like Meta will immediately prioritize the development of this device instead of wasting now limited resources on a future Quest Pro headset.
Apple has overtaken Meta in the high-end VR space, but it’s unclear if it’s a hit with consumers.
These Meta moves also come at a curious time, as interest in the Metaverse has plummeted over the past year. Despite declining interest in the technology at the heart of the company’s rebranding, one of its top executives double in March about his commitment to the Metaverse, noting that it will arrive, but not for at least a few years. It was apparently an effort to backtrack on earlier remarks from Zuckerberg, who said AI was now the company’s biggest area of investment.
At the same time, Apple has yet to officially launch its $3,500 Vision Pro helmet, which will be released next year. Zuckerberg has already said that Meta doesn’t see Apple’s device as a threat. Zuck felt the Quest line is designed for social interaction, whereas Apple’s demo showed people sitting alone on a couch. Whether he’s right or not, now that the Quest Pro line is effectively dead, Apple’s brand new VR headset is Really more of a threat.