We’re just one day away from Meta’s annual Metaverse Connect event. For the past few years, the storefront has been where Meta (formerly Facebook) has launched hardware and software like the Meta (formerly Oculus) Quest 2 and its social network/VR game Horizon Worlds. This year’s show is set to once again build on the success of Meta’s VR hardware by releasing a new high-end Quest headset, a potential follow-up to the affordable Quest 2, and Horizon Worlds graphics updates.
In order to prepare you for tomorrow’s live stream, which starts at 1 p.m. ET, we’ve rounded up some of the things we expect to see at the event. Read on to find out if you should tune in, or if you can safely ignore Mark Zuckerberg’s speech and just settle into the full post-event coverage we’ll have here at ZDNET.
The Meta Quest Pro
Whether you know it as Quest Pro or Project Cambria, chances are you’ve seen at least one of the many leaks surrounding the expected star of Meta Connect 2022. While Mark Zuckerberg has been seen in docs previous wearing a Project Cambria headset confirmed, just a few weeks ago the public got what seems to be their best preview of the headset that will actually be launched to the public as the Meta Quest Pro.
The rather unusual leak comes from a bag of headsets apparently left in a hotel and a little-known Facebook account that stumbled across some of the biggest VR/AR hardware news in recent memory. The leaked video included the part seen above, in which we apparently received confirmation that the new headset would indeed be called the Meta Quest Pro.
Otherwise, the video showed us revamped controllers with much smaller tracking rings and a headset that looked almost exactly like the Project Cambria unit that Zuckerberg himself wore.
This unit, and previous leaks about it, suggest it will move from the Fresnel lenses used in the first two Quest helmets to “pancake” optics. This allows for a thinner and lighter design, while eliminating the “god rays” or unwanted beams of reflected light Fresnel lenses are famous for adding.
Other features are expected to include things like color pass-through using the new front-mounted cameras (improving the Quest 2’s black-and-white pass-through cameras); a redesigned halo-style headband; and the potential for new tracking features for included controllers and the wearer’s hands, eyes, or even other body parts.
While there are no solid pricing rumors, the new unit is expected to be more expensive than the Quest 2, which was priced not too long ago to $400 for its base model. . We’ll have to see how much the new high-end headphones sell for when Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage.
If you’re already worried that the price of buying a new VR headset will soon cost you more, Meta might also have something in store for you.
Meta Quest 3
We haven’t seen so many leaks of the supposed direct Meta follow-up to the hugely popular Quest 2. In fact, almost everything we know, and all of the supposedly leaked images (including the one above) come from one place: the SadlyItsBradley YouTube channel.
According to the VR-centric YouTuber, the Quest 3 will skip features like eye tracking, but will bring a major processing upgrade that should make it capable of handling more graphically intense games that would have required only the Quest 2 is attached to a PC. According to YouTuber, this upgrade will go through a new chip that Meta is collaborating on with Qualcomm. The supposed “Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2” could also come with additional RAM and a larger maximum storage tier, according to the leaker.
Perhaps more importantly, the price of the Quest 3 should also be at or near the current MSRP of the Quest 2. This should ensure that Meta maintains a friendly price, even if the Quest Pro ends up being a bit too expensive for most. users.
The term Metaverse is often referred to as being quite nebulous and vague. Even Meta, which has renamed itself to show its commitment to the concept, often seems a bit fuzzy about what exactly the Metaverse will look like. However, its most monolithic initial effort to define this new universe was Horizon Worlds, a sort of game/social experience hybrid that nearly every tech blog and sibling has (relatively aptly) described as “Second Life in VR”.
The app allows users to interact socially, play games together, collaborate, and more. Think of it as the infant form of what Meta hopes its eventual Metaverse will become.
Unfortunately for the company’s ambitions, this early-day Metaverse has become something of a meme, especially its rather unimpressive avatars. Mark Zuckerberg’s own avatar, in particular, has earned more than its fair share of posts about Horizon Worlds’ base look.
When the backlash became clear, Zuckerberg quickly took to Instagram to post what his company had in store for Horizon Worlds, promising more “Connect” information. This means we should find out more at tomorrow’s event, including whether or not these upgraded avatars will have lower halves on their bodies.
There’s always the possibility of a “one more thing” type moment at such high-profile events. While we don’t have any solid leads on this type of moment just yet, we expect there to be the typical slate of third-party debuts that make their way into the keynote and the lineup that follows. Expect announcements from some of the biggest partners Meta has partnered with in the past, including popular game developers and potentially third-party hardware manufacturers.
Companies like Logitech have also already released products like the Logitech Chorus add-on for the Quest 2, which will likely see a follow-up to the Quest 3. Meanwhile, device makers like Anker have teased peripherals like the Anker VR headphones. P10s that promise lag-free wireless audio that will actually work with a VR headset. Some of tomorrow’s most exciting VR announcements may not be happening at Meta Connect 2022 at all, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
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