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