Meta's new Quest Pro headset, mixing real and virtual worlds, makes debut

Meta’s new Quest Pro headset, mixing real and virtual worlds, makes debut

Oct 11 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms (META.O) unveiled its Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset on Tuesday, marking a milestone for Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg’s entry into the high-end market for extended reality computing devices.

Unveiled at Meta’s annual Connect conference, the headset will hit stores October 25 at a price of $1,500 and will offer consumers a way to interact with virtual creations overlaid on a full-color view of the physical world around them. .

The launch is an important step for Zuckerberg, who last year announced plans for the device, then called Project Cambria, at the same time that he changed the name of his company from Facebook to Meta to signal his intention to turn the social media giant. in a company. which operates a shared immersive computing experience known as a metaverse.

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Since then, Zuckerberg has poured billions of dollars into that vision. Reality Labs, the Meta unit responsible for bringing the metaverse to life, lost $10.2 billion in 2021 and has lost almost $6 billion so far this year.

In a speech at the event, Zuckerberg, recorded partly on video and partly as an avatar, said he hopes the combination of the physical and digital worlds will lead to new uses for computing.

“You’re going to see whole new categories of things being built,” he said.

The Quest Pro features several upgrades over Meta’s existing Quest 2 headset, which overwhelmingly dominates the consumer VR market.

Most surprisingly, it has outward-facing cameras that capture a kind of 3D live feed of the physical environment around a user, enabling mixed reality novelties like the ability to hang a virtual painting on a real-world wall. or make a virtual ball bounce on a real table

Quest 2, by contrast, offers a more rudimentary grayscale version of this technology, called passthrough.

The Quest Pro feels lighter and slimmer than its predecessors, with thin pancake lenses and a relocated battery that sits on the back of the headset, distributing its weight more evenly and reducing overall bulk.

For fully immersive virtual reality, Meta has added tracking sensors to the Quest Pro that can replicate users’ eye movements and facial expressions, creating the feeling that the avatars are making eye contact.


Meta is introducing the Quest Pro as a productivity device, aimed at designers, architects, and other creative professionals.

In addition to offering its own Horizon workspace and social platforms, the company has also made available virtual versions of Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) work products such as Word, Outlook and Teams, a partnership announced by the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, and Zuckerberg.

Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist whose writings on the metaverse have drawn praise from Zuckerberg, said he found such partnerships important because they suggested companies’ commitment to interoperability, or the idea that different systems should connect with each other.

“There’s a lot of skepticism in the marketplace about whether an open, interoperable metaverse is possible, let alone likely,” he said, noting that Microsoft and Meta compete on various products in the extended reality space.

Previewing Quest Pro days before its launch, Meta gave reporters a glimpse of the type of user it had in mind for its productivity presentation by showcasing apps like Tribe XR, a virtual training environment for DJs.

Tribe XR is already available in VR, but a demo showed how direct access technology can allow DJs to use the app to play real-world concerts, as it means they can look beyond their virtual gear to attendees. real to the party

Meta plans to sell Quest Pro in consumer channels to start, while adding enterprise-grade capabilities like mobile device management, authentication and premium support services next year, executives said at the press event.

They said the device is meant to complement rather than replace the entry-level Quest 2, which retails for $399.99.

For now, that means Quest Pro falls short of enabling the complex business applications that Meta has suggested it wants its metaverse technology to support.

The company is still working on a mixed reality experience for its Horizon Workrooms app that would make a person’s avatar appear to be present in a real-world conference room with other users, which it calls Magic Rooms.

He also plans to add legs to his avatars, which are currently displayed from the waist up, Zuckerberg said.

Still, the Quest Pro’s price puts it well below the cost of existing enterprise-focused devices like Microsoft’s Hololens 2, which launched for commercial use in 2019 and is already present in operating rooms and on production floors.

An entry-level Hololens 2 sells for $3,500.

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Reporting by Katie Paul in Palo Alto, California Editing by Kenneth Li, Jonathan Oatis, and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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