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Meta Quest 3: Everything we know, what we want to see
It feels like the Meta Quest 2 has been around for ages. In fact, the headset has been out for long enough that it even went through a mid-cycle rebrand, going from the Oculus Quest 2 to the Meta Quest 2. But in actuality, it has only been available for three years — launched back in late 2020. Yet that span of time is still long enough that the hardware has started growing long in the tooth, which can’t be helped in such a fast-paced industry like VR.
One of Meta’s biggest VR rivals — Sony — released its latest entry into the space — the PSVR 2 — in February 2023. With the arrival of this Quest 2 competitor, our eyes have turned back toward Meta to see how the company responds.
Although the social media giant did launch the Quest Pro in 2022, that headset is a high-end device that doesn’t fit into the same budget tier that the Quest 2 occupies. So we’re still waiting to see the next iteration of the hardware. While the company has yet to show off the device publicly, we do know that a successor to the Quest 2 is coming our way. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Meta Quest 3.
Will there be a Meta Quest 3?
Although it hasn’t received an official announcement, there will definitely be a follow-up to the Quest 2. Will the follow-up be a Quest 3 or something new like the Quest Pro? It’s almost guaranteed that the next headset Meta puts out will be the Quest 3. In fact, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as other leaders in the company, have mentioned the device by name on multiple occasions. In addition, the founder of Meta has even gone as far as to say that the Quest 4 is already in the early stages of development. It’s likely Meta is planning for the Quest 3 to have a similar three-year cycle to the Quest 2.
Will there be multiple models?
When the Quest 2 launched, Meta delivered a 128GB model that sold for $299, and a 256GB version that sold for $399. Will the company do this again for the Quest 3? While Zuckerberg and his fellow executives have been very open in discussing their upcoming product, they haven’t mentioned anything in regard to multiple storage options. However, rumors suggest there could be a model with 512GB of SSD and 12GB of RAM.
Although the storage options are still up in the air, we do know there will be a variant. Meta’s VP of VR, Mark Rabkin, told The Verge that the company is developing two other headsets in addition to the one we know about — code name Stinson. One will likely be the successor to the Quest Pro, as he described it as a high-end device. But the other headset was described as a more affordable Quest 3 variant internally known as Ventura.
What is the Meta Quest 3 release date?
- Oculus Quest: May 21, 2019
- Oculus Quest 2: October 13, 2020
- Meta Quest Pro: October 25, 2022
Thanks to Rabkin’s interview, we know there will be multiple models. But when will these headsets be released? It’s been confirmed that Meta will launch one of the Quest 3 models in 2023. This was revealed during a Q3 2022 earnings call from Meta Chief Strategy Officer David Wehner.
Conversely, our growth in cost of revenue is expected to accelerate, driven by infrastructure-related expenses and, to a lesser extent, Reality Labs hardware costs driven by the launch of our next generation of our consumer Quest headset later next year.
This release date only involves the Stinson model, however. The Ventura variant is expected to launch sometime in 2024. There’s also a strong possibility that Meta will officially announce and launch the Quest 3 during its Connect conference in October, as it did with the Quest Pro and Quest 2 previously.
What features do we expect to see?
A thinner and lighter design
We’re, at the very least, months away from the Quest 3 announcement. Despite that, we already have a pretty good idea of the general design Meta may go with for the headset thanks to a rather substantial leak. YouTuber SadlyItsBradley (Brad Lynch) received leaked schematics of the Quest 3 — where we learned about the code name Stinson — that included computer-aided designs (CAD) of the headset. This is the same YouTuber who received leaked specs of the Quest Pro that were later confirmed when an engineering sample was discovered after it was accidentally left in a hotel room.
Based on the CAD images, it appears that Stinson may have a similar design philosophy to its predecessor. One aspect where it may differ, however, is the size. Stinson is believed to use pancake lenses — a type of lens that’s thin and light — instead of Fresnel lenses, which would allow the headset to be thinner and lighter than the Quest 2. According to The Verge‘s report, the upcoming VR flagship is two times thinner than the previous model.
In another departure from Quest 2, the Quest 3 appears to have a dial located at the bottom. If you look at the image with the underside angle, you’ll notice that the dial is an interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustment wheel — something that didn’t appear in the previous device.
It’s worth mentioning that even if these images are the real deal, they aren’t definitive. Meta could always make changes to the design before launch time.
Unfortunately, the CAD renders didn’t include the controllers, so we’re in the dark there — for now. But it’s plausible that the company could just keep the controllers as they are. It’s unlikely Meta would make drastic changes like PlayStation was forced to do with its own VR controllers.
Meta Quest 3 specs and special features
When we moved on from the Oculus Quest to the Meta Quest 2, the second-generation headset saw an improvement in resolution, speed, and ergonomics. The Quest 3 is likely to see improvements in these areas as well, but more importantly, it may gain some new must-have features. Thanks to the schematics leak, plus recent interviews, we have quite a bit of information to sift through.
It’s believed that the Quest 3 may incorporate some of the technology in the Quest Pro, so let’s start by focusing on the hardware and go on from there. In the last section, we discussed that the build of the device should be reminiscent of the Quest 2, however, it’ll likely be thinner and lighter due to the pancake lenses. There also looks to be an IPD adjustment wheel — something that will allow you to widen or narrow the gap between the lenses to match your eye distance.
Moving on to the display, Lynch says that the expected resolution might be 4,128 by 2,208 pixels or 2,064 by 2,208 pixels per eye. If this is true, that would be a 30% improvement over the Quest 2’s 1,920 by 1,832 pixels per eye. And Meta may use uOLED displays this time around, but we have also heard rumors suggesting OLED or mini LED. These displays may have a 120Hz refresh rate as well — something the Quest 2 got back in 2021.
In addition, the headset appears to have a four-camera array, two side cameras for tracking, and a depth sensor. Interestingly, it appears that the parts necessary for eye and face tracking are missing, based on the CAD images. Zuckerberg made a big deal about eye and face tracking during Meta’s Connect 2022 keynote and added them to the Quest Pro, but that may not be a feature in the Quest 3.
Something else we learned from the leak is that the system could be powered by a Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset. If you’re familiar with mobile processors, this chip is essentially a variant of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — the latest chip from Qualcomm running on this year’s most powerful phones. This would be the biggest improvement of all, as the Quest 2 runs on an XR2 Gen 1, the equivalent of a Snapdragon 865 chip — think of the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G.
The Quest 3 may also get a nice bump up in the RAM and storage department. As we mentioned earlier, rumors suggest we could be in store for 512GB of SSD and 12GB of RAM. It’s unclear if this would be the base model or the more expensive variant.
If you’re wondering what the purpose of the depth sensors are, apparently they’re meant for mixed reality. In The Verge‘s report, Rabkin explained that mixed reality is a core focus for the Quest 3 and it “will be a huge selling point.” Additionally, Rabkin says their developers are working hard to make mixed reality “feel better, easier, more natural.”
With the mixed reality technology, there will be an improvement to the Quest’s passthrough vision feature. On the Quest 2, this feature — called guardian — is in black and white, and it can be difficult to see bright screens. But guardian has been upgraded to what the company calls “smart guardian.” Hopefully, the feature will give the user a clearer view of their surroundings, be capable of scanning objects in the room, and give the video feed a splash of color. Rabkin states that Meta is aiming to make a headset where:
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.
It’s possible that this technology could also be used to help improve hand tracking. This is something that’s slowly gotten better with updates on the Quest 2, but could still use some work.
What will the Meta Quest 3’s price be?
Meta is in a bit of a predicament with regard to the pricing of the Quest 3. Based on The Verge‘s report we mentioned earlier, the company wants to maintain enthusiasm by keeping the price low. However, it’s important to remember that Meta was also forced to raise the price of the Quest 2 last summer because of inflation. As a result, the 128GB model of the Quest 2 went from $299 to $399, and the 256GB version went from $399 to $499.
We could see Meta aiming for this price range again. In fact, Zuckerberg confirmed as much in an interview in October 2022. “There will be a Quest 3 and that’s in the price range of $300, $400, or $500, that zone,” Zuckerberg told Stratechery. It’s uncertain where the company will land in that range, but with the technological improvements and more powerful processor, it’s not farfetched to believe it will be more expensive than the Quest 2’s original price.
However, Rabkin revealed that Stinson isn’t the only Quest 3 model in the works. The company is also reportedly developing a more accessible headset codenamed Ventura. “The goal for this headset is very simple: pack the biggest punch we can at the most attractive price point in the VR consumer market,” Rabkin told The Verge. Knowing this, it’s possible Ventura could nail that $299 sweet spot that Stinson may miss.
Will the Quest 3 have backward compatibility?
When it comes to games, apps, and experiences, it’d be nice to think that Meta would make the Quest 3 compatible with what was available on the prior system. While it would make sense to bolster the launch library this way, there’s no guarantee that will happen. And this wouldn’t be the first time Meta steered away from backward compatibility.
If you remember, Meta used to produce a little headset known as the Oculus Go. When the Quest 1 came around a year later, the company enabled compatibility for software released for the Go and used emulation to mimic the controls. However, backward compatibility for those games was dropped for the Quest 2. According to former Oculus Consulting CTO John Carmack, “Support was remove[d] on Quest 2. I totally lost the internal debate over backwards compatibility.”
Since the control schemes between the Quest 2 and 3 likely won’t be all that different, there’s a good possibility existing software will still be playable on the next-generation headset.
Moving on to the launch lineup, we know that Meta plans to have 41 new apps and games available at the time of release. What these titles are is currently unknown as they have yet to be revealed. But we do know that a fair share of these games will be from Oculus Studios. We also know the organization is working with third parties to bring games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Assassin’s Creed VR to the platform as well.
What we want to see from the Meta Quest 3
Competitive price tag
As we mentioned in the price and release date section, the system is expected to be anywhere between $300 to $500. Obviously, we would like the Quest 3 to be as affordable as possible, but it may prove difficult for Meta to hit the $300 price mark with that powerful Snapdragon chip sitting in there. If Zuckerberg could sell it at $450 or below, it could still be an attractive offer while undercutting the PSVR 2 by $100. But if it ends up being too expensive, consumers may just have to wait for Ventura to come out in 2024.
A revamped Oculus Store
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Quest platform is the in-headset app store. In fact, Rabkin cites the poor UI and UX as one of the main reasons engagement with the platform has dropped since the last holiday season. On desktop, the Oculus Store is easy to navigate, discover new releases, and search for upcoming games. The VR version of the store is the complete opposite, making it difficult to do things like preorder or quickly find new titles. We would like to see the VR store get a revamp with a more user-friendly UI.
Improved media sharing
When you see something incredible or do something amazing in VR, you’re likely going to want to share a screenshot or clip. While it’s possible to share media with others on the Quest 2, it’s never been a great experience compared to other headsets. There have been a few updates to address this, but there’s still a way to go. We would like to see Meta make this process as simple as PlayStation makes it on the PSVR 2.
Having impressive hardware is nice, but what will ultimately determine the success of the Quest 3 is the software. The Quest 3 not only needs high-quality experiences, but also apps that can only be found on the Quest. If the Quest 3 shares its entire library with other headsets, then the only differentiator Meta can lean on is the fact the headset is self-contained. So it would be nice if Meta could sprinkle in a good number of exclusives into its collection.
That’s everything we want to see on the Meta Quest 3. What do you hope for most? Let us know by voting in the poll below.