Meta today announced the Quest 3, its new virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headset, as Mark Zuckerberg continues his efforts to push VR and AR into the mainstream – but experts believe the company could be in a “tricky” position. 

Unlike Meta’s previous VR headsets, the Quest 3 will focus on mixed reality. Cameras on the exterior of the headset will allow for real-life images to be mixed with virtual spaces. 

Zuckerberg is hoping the Quest 3 can bring VR into the mass market, with a starting price of $499, 40% higher than the starting price of its Quest 2.

Meta Reality Labs, which has spent the last two years dedicated to creating a metaverse, lost around $13.9bn on VR and AR last year. 

In 2022, Meta saw a 2% decline in the total sales of its VR headsets – the same year that it announced it was raising the price of its flagship Quest 2 VR headset by $100.

The company bought VR company, Oculus, for $2bn in 2014 and has since been attempting to bring VR to the mainstream. 

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“The Quest 3’s starting price of $499 puts the headset in tricky territory,” Leo Gebbie, principal analyst at CCS Insight, told Verdict. 

“It is likely to prove too expensive for casual buyers and will be compared against other entertainment devices like the similarly priced PlayStation 5,” he added. 

Mixed reality technology has been a trending topic recently. Apple’s long-awaited headset, which is due to be unveiled in June at the company’s World Wide Developer Conference, is rumoured to be focused on both AR and VR.

Chinese electronics giant Oppo has also just unveiled its own mixed-reality headset, and claims the tech has the potential to overtake the smartphone.

Xu Yi, director of XR technology at Oppo, told CNBC: “It has the potential to become a new computing platform.”

Gebbie believes Meta has timed the release of its Quest 3 to “capitalise on the excitement” around mixed reality technology.

“Speculation about Apple’s expected entry into the VR market [is] dominating tech discourse, and Meta is clearly keen to remind everyone about its credentials in the space,” Gebbie told Verdict.

GlobalData is the parent company of Verdict and its sister publication