From where I am, the marketing of Meta Quest continues to falter. They raised the price of Quest 2 from $300 to $400 at the same time that existing customers are losing interest or largely abandoning Horizon Worlds – their VR showpiece, promoted via a Super Bowl ad that made $13 million . To further poison their own well, Meta just pre-announced the Quest 3 for Holiday 2023… during the Holiday 2022 sale. And their main advisor/evangelist was put on the (virtual) stage declare in appearance he has no idea what Meta’s Pro glasses strategy is all about, as well as various other VR grievances.
Now, I’ve been interested in video headsets for over two decades, dating back to the augmented reality research and development of a fellow graduate. But I’m ultra geek and I don’t represent the “civilian” population. Getting people from flat, or even curved, screens to immersive virtual reality is quite a leap. They need scaffolding (another benchmark for higher education) to bridge that gap. What better way to do this by 1) offering existing and familiar media from next-gen hardware 2) made available at an acceptable price – reducing perceived risk by investing in new technologies, while lowering barriers to ‘hall.
Even for me, it was brought home a few weeks ago when the family was away and I wanted to watch The Batman. Because caveman isn’t a physical place, it’s a state of mind… and I seek maximum immersion while soaking up various genres that my wife and daughter have no interest in. A research project follows. Turns out the movie is available on HBO Max… but HBO Max prevents Quest browser playback (unlike Disney+). The YouTube VR app has a superior viewing interface, but I don’t know how to rent at all (aside from Quest) and it seemed complicated, so I upgraded to Amazon’s slow VR app and ran a rental outside of Quest.
Basically, Quest needs an iTunes store, a centralized repository for renting or buying and then consuming all kinds of media in one obvious, unified experience. Sure, some content could be 3D and VR (like some randomly scattered stuff in the existing TV Hub app). But there are plenty of existing and compelling “mainstream” videos (think concerts!) to be had, presented on a seemingly giant screen. And if rolling yours is too much, Meta could partner with someone like Roku did initially to bring movie and TV rentals to the forefront.
— Dave Zatz (@davezatz) October 14, 2020
Pricing-wise, $400 is a lot to ask for new tech folks and a relatively new hardware company. Apple, they are not. The original Oculus Go, which started at $200, was a Xiaomi collaboration and it’s a shame the two companies moved on because it gave people a taste of what an immersive headset could offer. And, for some, a low-end offer could be perfectly suitable and/or all of this in the budget! While for others, a unit like this might ultimately inspire people to move up the product ladder to a higher performing unit at a higher cost.