meta quest 3 hurry to win 1

meta quest 3

Meta has shipped a total of six VR headsets within the span of seven years. However, only one of them can be deemed an unequivocal success.

The breakout moment for the company arrived when they managed to sell a staggering 20 million Quest headsets, primarily the Quest 2, as adults seeking refuge from pandemic-induced lockdowns and perhaps desiring to oversee restless preteens gravitated towards virtual escapism. Since that triumph, Meta, previously known as Facebook, has encountered difficulties when it comes to justifying their company-wide rebranding in the name of the elusive “metaverse” concept—a vision that is only now beginning to materialize in a tantalizingly tangible manner.

meta quest 3
image credit: meta

 

 

Tomorrow, as Meta attempts to entice consumers with their $500 Meta Quest 3, they will need to exceed expectations. Their success will hinge largely on the availability of compelling VR games. This endeavor is time-sensitive because this might be the final occasion when Meta enjoys an uncontested advantage in the VR market.

Apple’s Vision Pro, although acclaimed as “the best headset demo ever,” remains unreleased, and its initial iteration is set to be an exceedingly pricey $3,500 device—more akin to a high-end television than a VR headset. I’ll refrain from further commentary on Apple due to ethical considerations.

meta quest 3

Sony’s PlayStation VR2 had a sluggish start, with my own review unit collecting dust. With the exception of the allure of Gran Turismo, there has been a dearth of offerings capable of luring gamers away from the abundance of captivating flat-screen video games we’ve witnessed in recent years.

Valve’s SteamVR platform had remained stagnant since the debut of Half-Life: Alyx in March 2020, and interestingly, over half of Steam users resorted to Meta headsets to play these games. However, Valve appears poised for a comeback.

meta quest 3

HTC veered away from consumer VR years ago, while Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality is still anchored to an HP headset first introduced in 2020. Samsung and Google have long abandoned VR pursuits as phone-based headsets proved to be a dead-end.

image credit: meta

Presently, Meta still has a window of opportunity to convince prospective VR headset buyers that the Meta Quest 3 is the superior choice over potential offerings from competitors. Valve, in particular, seems ready to follow Meta’s lead with a relatively affordable headset that may not necessitate a PC.

On the hardware front, the Quest 3 is poised to make a strong impression. On paper and in images, it represents an improvement in nearly every conceivable aspect—smaller, lighter, twice as powerful, equipped with depth sensing, upgraded haptics, and the removal of flimsy plastic rings on the controllers that were prone to breaking.

However, at a price point of $499, it competes directly with the likes of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, both of which have amassed a rich library of games. Meta also needs to overcome the skepticism of gamers it has disappointed in the past. Let’s recap:

meta quest 3

Those who invested in Meta’s vision of a gaming PC tethered to a high-end wired headset were left disappointed as Meta shifted its focus to the predominantly wireless Quest. But even Quest users experienced frustration as Meta inexplicably revoked access to one of its most significant games. The disappointment deepened as Meta shuttered flagship launch title Echo VR, a superb game that simply required better moderation to address the issue of unruly teenage players. More disappointment followed as Meta closed down three additional titles, including both Dead and Buried Wild West shootout games, without providing an explanation.

meta quest 3

Numerous gamers harbor reservations about Meta, unrelated to the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Their skepticism arises from uncertainty about Meta’s true commitment to gaming versus its broader interests in the “metaverse,” eye-tracking ads, remote work (despite mandating employees to return to offices), and fitness apps like Supernatural, despite its quality.

Meta could dispel this skepticism by investing in a blockbuster game, on the scale of Halo for the original Xbox, GoldenEye for the N64, or Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Switch. Currently, standout titles such as Pistol Whip and Beat Saber, while excellent exercise games, are neither exclusive to Meta nor the kind of masterpieces that keep players glued to a platform.

It’s possible that Meta has already developed or is in the process of creating such a game. The company has acquired numerous game studios in 2021, though the FTC scrutinized and initially opposed Meta’s acquisition of Supernatural before eventually relenting. However, even if we consider the clock starting in 2021, the development time may still fall short, given that Halo took four years to materialize, and Breath of the Wild required five.

Alternatively, Meta may persuade major game developers that it’s finally worth their attention. Ubisoft’s recent announcement about Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR being a “full-length Assassin’s Creed game” available exclusively in VR is a promising sign. This alone may pique the interest of gamers.

Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg’s teaser of a Lego mixed reality experience, potentially linked to Epic’s metaverse project, raises intrigue. An open beta of Roblox for Quest has already garnered over a million downloads.

While it remains uncertain what Meta will unveil in the realm of games, it’s clear that a more capable hardware alone won’t suffice. I’ve been a believer since I first experimented with a duct-taped Oculus Rift prototype. I sincerely hope that the Quest 3 will finally deliver the kind of VR masterpiece that captivates and holds the attention of gamers.

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