The Lamen

The Meta Quest 3 is great hardware, but games are what it really needs

A bar graph for the breast cancer rates among women of different ethnicities.

The Meta Quest 3 is continually pushing its VR agenda as other major manufacturers like HTC pull back. Perhaps the ski googles are a prelude to sleeker shades — but games are what really count.

Photo: Meta

Published on Oct 12, 2023

The Quest headsets have been going through an identity crisis — falling off their pre-pandemic highs in efforts to justify the “metaverse.” Apple’s rumored mixed-reality headset had been quietly gaining traction as Meta struggled, and the company needed a head start: a more mainstream alternative to Apple’s headset.

In comes the Meta Quest 3: a $500 “mixed-reality headset” that’s $200 more expensive than the previous model, but still a fraction of the $3,500 Vision Pro. The Quest 3 fills out the spec sheet expectedly, but the notable change here is it’s more of a gaming console.

In terms of hardware improvements, the Meta Quest 3 features:

  • Double the graphics performance of the Quest 2.
  • A 30 percent improvement in resolution with the 4K infinity display — with battery life “about the same as Quest 2.”
  • More memory, better audio, and a slimmer optic profile.

Meta subtly refers to the Quest 3 as the first “mass-market mixed reality headset,” pointing toward the biggest hardware difference: two full-color front cameras on the headset that allow for significantly better passthrough video (it was grayscale on the Meta Quest 2, but available on the significantly more expensive Quest Pro).

  Looking at the real world through a lens is fun and games, but what the Meta Quest 3 really needs are games.

I’ll put it out there: building something out of Legos is a tactile experience best left unadulterated with the virtual world. However, the industry’s pivot toward mixed reality is understandable.

An illustration for the symptoms of workplace burnout.
An illustration for the symptoms of workplace burnout.
An illustration for the symptoms of workplace burnout.

The Quest 3 makes things sleeker, but it’s still a clunky ski-google contraption strapped to your head.

Photos: Meta

Many have jumped onto the AR headset bandwagon: Samsung teased one, Snap even shipped its AR glasses to developers, and even the Pokémon GO creator Niantic claimed to be working on one of their own. 

  • However, they were quick to realize that AR was a one-trick pony — an experience not many stuck to.
  • Mixed reality headsets came in to fill this void — Apple, albeit long stuck in the rumor mill, came out with the greatest demonstration.

Despite receiving heaping praise, Apple’s absurdly priced isn’t for the average gamer — and that’s a great spot for Meta to take. Especially true when others are still gearing up on the hardware front.

To position itself as a contemporary of modern consoles, the Quest 3 needs games and longevity, an area where companies like Nintendo have excelled even with sub-par hardware.

  • The Meta Quest 3 comes bundled with Asgard’s Wrath 2, with games like Assassin’s Creed Nexus, Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, and Attack on Titan VR: Unbreakable on the way.
  • Meta says that the Quest 3 is getting 100 “new and upgraded titles” by the end of 2023, with over half taking advantage of its mixed-reality capabilities. Everything from the Quest 2 also remains playable.
  • The headset will also benefit from Xbox Cloud Gaming’s launch in December: allowing access to games like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Minecraft Legends.

Even for a great VR headset, however, it’s far from mainstream status. While Meta may have plans for a cheaper Quest 3, I’m hopeful about how it gets developers interested. Interested in more mixed reality stuff, that is. Until then, it’s a cool way to play games.

The Meta Quest 3 is up for purchase, starting at $499.99 for the 128 GB model.