Meta has announced the launch of a new virtual reality (VR) subscription service as it tries to mitigate revenue losses in the emerging tech – but experts remain sceptical.
The VR subscription service, named Meta Quest+, will give paying subscribers access to two free games a month, according to a company statement on Monday (26 June).
“Subscription services have been a great way to get more bang for your buck as far back as the Blockbuster days,” the company wrote in its announcement.
“And at a monthly value of up to $60 USD, Meta Quest+ combines affordability with the convenience of a curated experience. We’re excited to give gamers on Meta Quest a new way to explore all their headsets have to offer.”
The new VR subscription will initially cost $7.99 per month or $59.99 annually.
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Experts remain sceptical about the success this will bring to Meta’s fledgling headsets – which saw a two percent decrease in total sales last year.
“Zukerberg has been struggling with the metaverse for so long now,” Michael Queenan, CEO and founder of Nephos Technologies, told Verdict.
“The cost of these headsets is also a major barrier to purchase and a subscription service is no good if you don’t have the users or the experiences,” Queenan added.
The announcement comes shortly after Apple unveiled its own offering into the VR and augmented reality (AR) market, the Vision Pro.
Announced at the beginning of June during the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference – the iPhone maker’s headset caused a stir in the tech world with its hefty $3,499 price tag.
“Apple hasn’t got it right either,” Queenan argued, “it comes down to use cases, and there aren’t any affordable mainstream models yet.”
“As we saw with step counters and fitness trackers, before wearable technology becomes mainstream there needs to be a great experience for a great price that doesn’t involve wearing a laptop on your head,” Queenan said.
The announcement comes as investment in VR and AR has been dwindling.
Research analyst, GlobalData, recorded a dramatic fall in VR and AR venture capital investment in 2022, after a record peak in 2021.
VR and AR investment volumes, in 2022, totalled $5.8bn, made up of 283 deals. This is less than half the total invested the year prior, which totalled $18.9bn over 311 deals.