If Meta wants its vision of the metaverse to come true, it needs more people to wear VR headsets, because most of the examples we’ve seen of Zuck and Co.’s imagined metaverse so far involve fully immersive virtual reality, and digital spaces. that allow endless interactions.
In line with this, Meta reportedly plans to launch four new VR headsets in the next two years, according to a new report from Information based on Meta plans.
according to Information:
“Meta plans to release Project Cambria, a high-end VR and mixed reality headset billed as a device for the future of work, around September, according to a person familiar with the matter. Cambria was originally supposed to come out last year, but its launch was delayed by supply chain and other issues related to the pandemic.”
In fact, Meta provided a first look at the Cambria headphones late last year, which appears to be a more closed-end device.
The Cambria headphones will reportedly include high resolution image quality, for more granular applications, while also allowing the user to see their real-world surroundings using outward-facing cameras, potentially facilitating all new mixed reality experiences.
Cambria will also be the first of Meta’s headsets to include eye-tracking and facial expression recognition capabilities, providing even more ability to participate in the digital environment.
It seems, at present, that the most advanced model is aimed at professional users, with a specific focus on facilitating remote meetings and collaboration, while also allowing more general use virtual reality applications at the same time.
Following the release of the first iteration of Cambria, Meta is also planning another type of even more advanced VR headset, currently scheduled for release in 2024, while also releasing two new versions of its popular Quest headset in 2023 and 2024 respectively. .
At the same time, Meta’s AR glasses, currently titled Project Aria, are tentatively slated for a 2024 retail release, essentially expanding on their initial Ray Ban Stories smartglasses release (Note: Meta now also refers to its AR glasses as ‘Project Nazare’, which could mean there are also two variations of these in development).
The timeline will see Meta giving VR a big push, in keeping with their metaverse shift, which will ideally speed up the acceptance of VR and help Meta make more money faster from their next digital environments. level, because right now, Meta shareholders are understandably a little uncomfortable with Meta’s decade-long timeline for seeing big returns on their metaverse efforts.
as part of your First Quarter Earnings ReportAs Meta shared last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the company’s long-term vision and how many of its projects currently in development won’t come to fruition for some time:
“WNow we’re basically funding product teams to build our future products, two or three versions down the line. Because when you’re designing hardware, these are multi-year plans that you’re building and figuring out all the pieces that are going to go into that. […] It’s not going to be until those products actually hit the market and scale significantly and this market ends up being big that this is going to be a big revenue or profit contributor to the business. So that’s why I gave it the color in previous calls that I hope we’ll be later this decade, right? Perhaps mostly, this is laying the groundwork for what I hope will be a very exciting 2030s, when it’s more established as the mainstream computing platform at the time.”
So Meta itself is under no illusions that this is a long-term strategy, with the metaverse set to take on many iterations before becoming the fully functional, immersive engagement experience the company envisions (take note, for all those who sell their NFT). projects and the like, claiming that the metaverse is already here).
But that also means the company’s shareholders will need to hold their ground for some time, as costs and expenses continue to rise, in the hope that Zuckerberg’s grand vision actually becomes a reality.
Which it looks like it will, but still, the market is generally not a patient environment, which is why Meta is now looking to cut costs where possible to improve its bottom line, while also pushing new products to drive adoption. of VR, and start generating real money from that element of the business.
what’s going on Quest 2 sales are steadily increasingwhile Meta says that people have already spent over a billion dollars worth of Quest store content.
The opportunity here is clearly evolving, and Meta is now set to build on that momentum, with the launch of its first retail store, focused on VR unit sales, and this new effort to launch new types of VR headsets to appeal to different audiences. use cases.
Combine that with its growing list of VR titles and you can imagine Meta headsets will be in high demand once again this coming holiday season, ahead of the next big push in the metaverse environment.
That’s where these new devices will come in, with their AR glasses also fueling the broader metaverse push, and potentially becoming a key connection device for consumers looking to take advantage of the growing activity in the space.
Which is what Meta really needs. It’s one thing to hype the next level of engagement, but if there’s nothing too hot there, in the VR space, no one will care how technologically advanced these new headsets might be.
That feels like the situation today. VR worlds do exist, and there’s an ever-increasing range of options available in the digital environment of Meta, but really, it’s not a very compelling option, while motion sickness and headset itchiness are also factors. that can limit the time people will spend in virtual reality. in any session.
Meta really needs some more compelling apps and tools, and maybe Horizon Worlds, its VR creation platform, will become just that, while VR versions of popular games like Grand Theft Auto Y resident Evil It could also help drive word of mouth and see even more acceptance.
There are mental health considerations within that too, and hopefully Meta takes this into account as its momentum builds, with the more closed VR environment set to be even more damaging than current social media platforms.
Meta has also launched a creator funding program for VR to help drive more innovative and next-level experiences, but this will all take time, and it’s hard to see VR becoming a ‘must have’ option until there’s critical mass. really strong. write the reason for logging in every day.
I suspect it’s coming, but we haven’t seen it yet. But when it does arrive, you can expect VR adoption to rise very quickly, and Meta’s stock price to rise with it.