It is not with this high-tech gadget that the general public will discover the metaverse on which Mark Zuckerberg is betting. On Tuesday, Meta (Facebook, Instagram) presented on Tuesday its new virtual reality headset designed in particular for professional use. The Meta Quest pro, which can be ordered for $1,500 and will ship at the end of the month, features numerous technological advancements, which are believed to improve users’ perception of being in the presence of other people.
The new headset is a version on steroids of the Quest 2, with an increased resolution (2,160 x 2,160 pixels), an advertised 75% higher contrast and a 50% faster processor. Above all, the Pro version has cameras capable of performing eye and facial tracking, which allows the user’s avatar to reproduce their expressions in near real time. And thanks to outward-facing cameras, it transforms into an augmented reality helmet, with an adjustable opacity visor.
Not for the general public
“If someone smiles or frowns (…) their avatar must be able to express it”, detailed the founder and boss of Meta Mark Zuckerberg during Connect, a day of online conference organized to present progress. of the company in virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and mixed (MR) reality technologies and services.
The social media giant rebranded itself as Meta in October 2021 to mark a shift towards the metaverse, seen as the future of the internet – after the era of smartphones – by the tech industry.
With this high-end headset, Facebook challenges HTC and Valve in the business sector. At 1,500 dollars, this Quest Pro may however be too expensive for ordinary mortals, and not sophisticated enough for professionals who will prefer the Varjo XR-3 (at 6,495 dollars, anyway).
Difficult turn for Meta
Facebook and its other services, from Instagram to messaging, were then going through yet another image crisis caused by a whistleblower, an engineer who accuses her former company of “putting profits before user safety”.
Mark Zuckerberg was keen, as in each of his public appearances, to promote the values and technical prowess of Meta, but also the economic potential of his expensive investments in the metaverse.
“The number of apps (available on Quest) that generate over $5 million in revenue has doubled since last year. That’s what a platform that takes off looks like, ”said Andrew Bosworth, the American group’s chief technology officer.
Meta is going through a tough financial patch. After years of staggering results, the world’s number two in advertising is facing budget cuts from advertisers, due to the poor economic climate, and competition from other platforms like TikTok, whose popularity has exploded. On Tuesday, the group also put forward new partnerships so that its platforms in the metaverse are used more widely, in particular with Microsoft.
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