Meta unveils $1,500 headset that aims to make virtual reality seem more real

A year after renaming itself in the name of building a metaverse, Meta on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its virtual reality headset tailored for business professionals.

The $1,500 Meta Quest Pro has a number of new features designed to enhance users’ perception of actually being in the presence of other people.

The headset makes it possible to view not only virtual worlds but also the user’s real environment, thanks to the high-resolution cameras facing out.

“The moment they start to smile or when they raise an eyebrow … your avatar should be able to express all of that and more,” Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg said at Meta Connect, the company’s annual conference focused on in Virtual Reality.

Customers began pre-ordering the Quest Pro on Tuesday, and the device will ship at the end of the month.

The Meta Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset
The Meta Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset is shown in an undated brochure image.

Meta form via Reuters

Meta said it is working with Microsoft and others to bring popular business and productivity software into virtual worlds using Quest Pro.

Features used include using Quest Pro during virtual meetings on the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the two companies.

“At Microsoft, we’re incredibly excited about the metaverse and how the digital and physical worlds are coming together,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during the launch.

Facebook rebranded as Meta in October 2021 to mark a shift in building its vision for an interactive world of virtual and augmented reality that it sees as the future.

A woman uses Meta's Quest Pro device to write and draw on a mixed reality whiteboard
A woman uses Meta’s Quest Pro device to write and draw on a mixed reality whiteboard, in this undated handout image.

Meta / Leaflet via Reuters

The move came as the company faced backlash after a documents were leaked by whistleblowers suggesting the social media giant is putting profits before safety.

Meta is going through a difficult financial period due to falling ad revenue and stiff competition from other platforms like TikTok, whose popularity has exploded.

About a third of the apps on the Quest app store have generated millions of dollars in revenue since launching there, according to Meta’s Chief Technology Officer Andrew “Boz” Bosworth.

About $1.5 billion has been spent in total on games and apps in the Quest store, and titles on the way to its virtual shelves include an “Iron Man” game coming out in November from Marvel Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment, according to Meta executives.

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