The XR Week Peek (2023.10.11): Meta Quest 3 ships now, a cheaper model may come in 2024… and more!

A bit late, but here I am again writing for you about the best XR news of the week! The past week most of the debate has been about Quest 3 vs Apple Vision Pro, and I’m pretty sure that the battle of Meta vs Apple will be something we of the XR community will talk about a lot for the next months…

Top news of the week

(Image by Meta)

New rumors hint at a cheap Quest 3 coming in 2024

Mark Gurman, the famous Bloomberg journalist who spread a lot of rumors and leaks about the Apple Vision Pro for months before it was launched, dedicated a good part of its weekly newsletter to the competition between Apple and Meta in the XR market. In its latest post, he stated that Meta plans to make the Quest 3 live as a medium-tier headset while releasing a new cheaper version of it in 2024 as the affordable option for the mass market.
 It is not the first time we heard this rumor: some months ago, The Verge shared some leaked insights on Meta’s roadmap, and talked about a new headset, codenamed Project Ventura, aimed at providing “the biggest punch at the most attractive price point in the VR consumer market”. The article talked about a headset shipping without controllers and aiming at the sweet price point of $200.
 Mark Gurman reiterated a similar rumor: he didn’t say that Meta will ship it without controllers, but just that it is evaluating also that option. He said that for sure the new headset will use cheaper and fewer components to reduce the whole price of the device. As for the price, I don’t see an exact price mentioned, but the hinted range is $2–300.
 I’ve found this piece of news critical especially for two reasons. The first is an obvious consideration about the price: if this new “Quest 3 Lite” will really ship for $200, it can bring new life to the XR sector. We have seen how much price makes a difference in consumer adoption, and this is one of the reasons why I’m pretty skeptical about the Quest 3 doing a boom ($500 is not that affordable for families). $200 for an XR device would be a steal, and it could sell a lot of units, making VR come out from the quicksands it is in today.
 The second is about interactions. IF (and it is a big if) the device ships without controllers, it would break one of the main principles that Meta tried to have all these years: the consistency of the input across all the devices. Today, if I develop an experience for a Meta headset, it works on all Meta headsets. If the Quest 3 Lite had gestures as its main input, this wouldn’t hold true anymore. When making an XR application, developers should make it compatible with VR controllers, because they are the main interaction means for Quest 1, 2, 3, and Pro, but also they would be forced to think about bare-hand interactions to make it compatible with Quest 3 Lite. But not all the applications work well with hand gestures: for instance, most action games would suck with it. So many developers could find themselves with the conundrum of what to offer and to which device: if the Quest 3 Lite will sell a lot of units, maybe developers will prefer to develop content that is compatible with hand tracking, shifting the current attention to games to something else. And if the new headset will be about mixed reality with hand tracking (a cheap version of the Vision Pro), then we may have a division between VR content working mostly with controllers vs MR content working mostly with hand tracking. I think this could create some interesting dynamics in all our field…

More info (Mark Gurman talks about a Quest 3 Lite)
More info (Old and new rumors about a cheap Quest 3)

Other relevant news

(Image by Meta)

Analysts have doubts about the success of Quest 3

Tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the demand for Quest 3 is much less than Meta was expecting. According to his report, Meta’s target was 7M units sold before the end of the year, which now have been “downgraded” to 2.5M after having seen the preorder numbers.
 To be fully honest with you, these numbers make no sense to me: 7M would mean that the Quest 3 should have sold in 3 months as many devices as the Quest 2 usually sold in around one year, by costing much more and in much worse market conditions (unfavorable economic situation, market with many people interested in VR already owning a headset). The Quest 3 is also launching with no killer application, which makes this result even more unlikely. So, in my humble opinion, whoever forecasted this number had no knowledge of the VR market.
 I think that even the adjusted estimate of 2.5M is optimistic: if Quest 3 reached that, it would already be great. I’m personally not convinced the Quest 3 is going to attract too many people among average consumers because it costs a lot and the value of mixed reality is still not clear. Also, many kids wanting a Quest already received a Quest 2, and they don’t need an upgrade, yet. 2.5M units is a projection of 10M units per year, which means that Meta is expecting a fantastic holiday season, with maybe Roblox leading the charge. I hope it happens, but I’m not sure, honestly. I suggest you all take these numbers with a grain of salt.
 I’m trying to keep expectations in place not because I want to be negative about VR (I’m a strong believer in the tech), but because in the past I’ve already seen that trend of setting unrealistic expectations and then writing “VR is dead” the day after when the market of course haven’t reached those results.

More info

Apple Vision Pro may have a very slow start

The same Ming-Chi Kuo, who probably woke up with a lot of pessimism that day, has also expressed doubts about the widespread success of the Apple Vision Pro. The device is very hard to manufacture and requires components that are very hard to find, so the maximum expected shipments for 2024 will be in the order of magnitude of 400,000–600,000 units.
 Because of these problems and the delays, a cheaper version of the Vision Pro, which was expected for 2025, may have been canceled. And a Vision Pro 2 wouldn’t be shipped until 2027. This would mean that Apple’s XR offering should rely for 3 years on a very expensive headset with very low sales.
 I’m honestly finding this report a bit too pessimistic. I mean, I think it’s correct, but just because it is the natural evolution of things. If Apple launches the Vision Pro in 2024, and the device will have a slow rollout across the world, and the device relies on a tech that needs some breakthroughs to improve, I find it hard that it has a lifecycle shorter than 2–3 years. So a Vision Pro 2 in 2027 seems to me the most logical option, instead of a downgrade of an original plan. As for the cheaper Vision Pro, I think Apple is still considering the option, and the same Mark Gurman, in the report mentioned above, says that internally Apple is still working on it.
 Let’s see what will actually happen: let’s remember what these “reliable Apple analysts” said for 4 years “The Vision Pro is shipping in 6 months” until it finally happened and so they congratulated themselves for having been correct…

More info

Meta Quest 3 has started shipping!

Meta Quest 3 has started shipping. Some lucky guys already received it before or managed to buy it from Best Buy, so there are already some in the wild, but the big bulk of users should receive this headset this week. Mine was planned to ship today, so I guess that tomorrow I will do an unboxing video! As for the review, since I’m crunching these weeks, probably I will just write a quick hands-on article and delay a more detailed review for next month.
 I’m pretty excited to receive this headset because I want to see the clarity of the images everyone is talking about and I also want to play around with mixed reality, a technology I am a big fan of.
 For now, the first reactions of the community are pretty positive: it seems that if you can afford it, it is a very solid headset. As proof of this, I’ll link here below the review that Ben Lang, my review hero, has just published on Road To VR. And Guy Godin, the guy behind VR Desktop, says that Quest 3 is the best standalone headset for PCVR ever.
 A new chapter of XR has just started!

More info (Quest 3 review)
More info (Guy Godin on Quest 3)

News worth a mention

(Image by Lynx)

Lynx R1 pivots to enterprise (again)

In the end, it seems that French startup Lynx has returned back to its original idea of selling its R1 headset mostly to enterprise customers. Also the price is getting closer to that plan, with the device now expected to retail for $1300. I think that for a small startup that is shipping its first product, it may make a lot of sense: for a company of that size, it is better to handle a smaller group of high-paying customers than doing the opposite. Plus this headset had many delays and now it can’t compete on the consumer side with the Quest 3 that has just launched.

More info

Meta lays off people working on its custom chips

An unconfirmed rumor unveiled that Meta is laying off people working on its “custom silicon for wearables team”, that is the team working on Meta’s custom chips. This news is certainly a result of the fact that the partnership with Qualcomm is going very well, so for now, Meta can rely on a great partner and can avoid spending money on the internal production of chips. I think this may also have negative effects on the XR ecosystem in general: now the biggest headset producer has a strong partnership with the company making all the reference designs for all the XR headsets… and it seems that Meta’s competitors can launch their headsets only a few months after Meta, because they can not do it before. This is not good for the competition in the space.

More info

Meta is working on micro gestures

One of the coolest features of the Apple Vision Pro is that you can control the interface of the virtual objects you have around you by just using little movements of your fingers. It seems that Meta is working on a similar technology, too, and a video released during the Meta Connect shows a user navigating and interacting with an XR experience by just moving a bit the fingers. This would be great for having a more natural interaction on Quest 3.

More info

Jim Ryan hints at a possible PlayStation metaverse

The court documents related to the FTC vs Microsoft trial related to the acquisition of Activision contain a very interesting piece of information related to what Sony may be working on. In one of these docs, there is mentioned a Q&A session between Sony’s Jim Ryan and investors where he clearly talks about Sony’s metaverse ambitions:
 Ryan said in his response that PS3’s PlayStation Home was an early form of metaverse — one that was “probably” 10–15 years ahead of its time. “We have a couple of projects underway that are very exciting for us, in terms of creating some sort of game-type metaverse which can have collaboration with other parts of Sony,” Ryan added. “Sony’s entertainment assets have huge potential in the metaverse area.”
 As far as PSVR2 is concerned, Ryan says it may have a role “
down the road, more in the mid-term.

More info

Resonite has been launched on Steam

Neos VR spiritual successor Resonite has just been launched on Steam. I have not tried it yet, but I saw a few videos, and it is clear that it takes inspiration from Neos. It looks open, geeky, powerful, and full of furries. I’m a big fan of its creator Frooxius, so I wish this project a lot of success.

More info (Resonite ha been launched — Road To VR)
More info (Resonite ha been launched — Upload VR)

You can now reserve your Somnium headset

Somnium Space is sticking to its plan of delivering a new powerful PC VR headset, the Somnium VR1. This week, it was announced that reservations are finally open: reservations are not preorders, they just make sure that you will be contacted 1 to 2 days before the actual sales open so that you can order the headset before all the other people.

More info

Steam VR stats have been pretty negative in September

The Steam hardware survey for September 2023 was very negative for VR. VR users were in September 1.60% of total, down from 1.92% in August… -16% in one month. I know that having data fluctuations is normal, and being a percentage number makes no sense until we know what was the starting number, but this still is not a good piece of news for our space.

More info

Epic layoffs people and changes the price of Unreal Engine

After the drama that surrounded Unity a few weeks ago because of its pricing change, it seems that Epic is not having its most epic (pun intended) moment ever, either. The company is laying off 830 people claiming that the content creation economy based on Fortnite is not as profitable for the company as they hoped for.
 The company is also going to increase the price of Unreal Engine, but this doesn’t apply to people creating games, but only to developers developing other types of content.

More info (Epic layoffs people)
More info (Unreal Engine pricing change)

Some news on content

  • Popular combat game Blade And Sorcery will reach version 1.0 in Q1 2024
  • Demeo Battles demo is available as part of Steam Next Fest
  • PowerWash Simulator VR arrives on Quest 2, Quest Pro, and Quest 3 on November 2
  • VR MMORPG Ilysia is finally expected to be launched this month in Early Access
  • Skydance’s Behemoth, which was previously known as just “Behemoth”, has been delayed until late 2024
  • Propagation: Paradise Hotel arrives on PSVR 2 on October, 12. Some people have expressed a good opinion about this game on Reddit.

More info (Blade And Sorcery)
More info (Demeo Battles)
More info (Powerwash Simulator VR)
More info (Ilysia)
More info (Skydance’s Behemoth)
More info (Propagation: Paradise Hotel)

Some news on mixed reality content

With the launch of Quest 3, some studios have released dedicated mixed-reality updates to their games. I’ve found it to be an interesting trend, so this week I’ve dedicated a dedicated spotlight to it:

  • Synth Riders is going to launch its mixed reality update, where you see the elements coming out from a hole in the wall
  • Espire 2 is going to have dedicated stealth action missions that happen directly in the rooms of your house

More info (Synth Riders)
More info (Espire 2)

Some reviews on content

  • Upload went hands-on with a preview of Arizona Sunshine 2 and found it a promising sequel of the famous zombie game. It also appreciated the presence of a doggo companion
  • Another promising game is the brawler Brazen Blaze, which provides great action in a game which is easy to play but hard to master

More info (Arizona Sunshine 2)
More info (Brazen Blaze)

Other news

CREAL has announced the commercial availability of its light field display for 2024

Learn more

Bigscreen has some delays with the shipping of the preorders of the Beyond headset

Learn more

HexVR seems an interesting new treadmill for XR, but inertia of the feet may be a problem for it

Learn more

Emerge finally finds an application for its touch-less haptic device thanks to a partnership with Sony

Learn more

A group of AI agents has been tasked to make a game studio, and they managed to produce some small games for a very cheap price
 (Thanks Ivan for the tip)

Learn more / 1
Learn more / 2

News from partners (and friends)

Chris Koomen is open to work

Chris Koomen is an esteemed VR professional who was used to working with XR and other emerging technologies at KLM. I’ve also interviewed him a few times on my blog. He’s now looking for a new adventure in XR, so if you are interested in hiring a good XR pro, feel free to contact him!
Learn more

Join the Pico Dev Jam!

Pico is organizing an online hackathon with interesting prizes, the Pico Dev Jam. If you are a student or a VR enthusiast, I suggest you take a look at this initiative!
Learn more

Some XR fun

Should you buy a Quest 3 or a Virtual Boy? A video helps us in taking a decision
Funny link

At the end of the day, everyone loves Snoop
Funny link

Quest 3 is already the best selling PlayStation 5 headset on Amazon! Wait, what???
Funny link

Finally a decent discount on VR headsets. But maybe let’s wait for prices to become even more affordable…
Funny link

What an emotional rollercoaster: super cheap prices here above and now below instead…
Funny link

This is a sick burn on Meta
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate for my blog, but to the poor people that are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

  • Alex Gonzalez VR
  • DeoVR
  • GenVR
  • Eduardo Siman
  • Jonn Fredericks
  • Jean-Marc Duyckaerts
  • Reynaldo T Zabala
  • Richard Penny
  • Terry xR. Schussler
  • Ilias Kapouranis
  • Paolo Leoncini
  • Nikk Mitchell and the great FXG team
  • Jake Rubin
  • Alexis Huille
  • Raghu Bathina
  • Chris Koomen
  • Cognitive3D
  • Wisear (Yacine Achiakh)
  • Jennifer Granger
  • Jason Moore
  • Steve Biggs
  • Julio Cesar Bolivar
  • Jan Schroeder
  • Kai Curtis
  • Francesco Strada
  • Sikaar Keita
  • Ramin Assadollahi
  • Juan Sotelo
  • Andrew Sheldon
  • Chris Madsen
  • Horacio Torrendell
  • Andrew Deutsch
  • Fabien Benetou
  • Tatiana Kartashova
  • Marco “BeyondTheCastle” Arena
  • Eloi Gerard
  • Adam Boyd
  • Jeremy Dalton
  • Joel Ward
  • Alex P
  • Lynn Eades
  • Donald P
  • Casie Lane
  • Catherine Henry
  • Qcreator
  • Ristband (Anne McKinnon & Roman Rappak)
  • Stephen Robnett
  • KaihatsuJai
  • Sb
  • Enrico Poli
  • Vooiage Technologies
  • Caroline
  • Liam James O’Malley
  • Hillary Charnas
  • Wil Stevens
  • Brian Peiris
  • Francesco Salizzoni
  • Dimo Pepelyashev
  • Alan Smithson
  • Steve R
  • Brentwahn
  • Pieter Siekerman
  • Matt Cool
  • Simplex
  • Gregory F Gorsuch
  • Matias Nassi

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image by Meta)

Disclaimer: this blog contains advertisement and affiliate links to sustain itself. If you click on an affiliate link, I’ll be very happy because I’ll earn a small commission on your purchase. You can find my boring full disclosure here.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart