There are rumors about an upcoming cheaper Meta Quest headset, but they are contradictory when it comes to specs.
Quest 3 hit the market last week for $499. The cheaper Quest 2 will remain on sale for $299, but may be replaced next year by a slightly updated version that could cost the same or less, according to several reports.
Rumors of a low-cost headset codenamed Ventura and scheduled for release in 2024 first surfaced in the spring. Well-informed journalist Mark Gurman confirmed them last week, citing his own sources. “For next year, Meta is planning a cheaper mixed reality headset that looks a lot like the Quest 3 but uses less expensive components, I’m told,” Gurman wrote in his newsletter, claiming that the device could be released without a controller to cut costs.
“Quest 3 Lite” could come sooner than thought
Brad Lynch, who leaked Quest 3 designs more than a year before the device’s launch, recently referenced a report from an anonymous Chinese analyst with relations to the supply chain who has previously made accurate predictions about upcoming Pico headsets and the Meta Quest Pro.
According to the report, the “Meta Quest 3 Lite” (the possible name of the device) could be released as early as the first half of 2024 and cost just $199 for the lowest storage variant. The Quest 2 and Quest Pro would be discontinued after the launch, the analyst claims. Prices would then look like this:
- Quest 3 Lite with 64 GB for $199
- Quest 3 Lite with 128 GB for $299
- Quest 3 Lite with 256 GB for $399
- Quest 3 with 256 GB for $499
- Quest 3 with 512 GB for $649
The analyst further claims that Meta will again use Fresnel lenses for the Quest 3 Lite, as well as a black-and-white passthrough like the Quest 2, to keep manufacturing costs low. In exchange, the SoC will be upgraded to the Quest 3’s new, more powerful chipset. It is also possible that Meta will sell the controller as an optional accessory. However, no decision has been made yet.
Is Meta giving up on Mixed Reality already?
This information contradicts Gurman’s report in that Meta is not focusing on color passthrough and mixed reality for the Quest 3 Lite. Lynch’s own sources also say that the device will not have a depth sensor, unlike the Quest 3.
If that were indeed the case, Meta would be condemning mixed reality to a niche because the more expensive headset will likely never reach a market as large as the one that Quest 2 has or the upcoming budget device might achieve. Developers would have little incentive to create mixed reality apps.
It also seems unlikely that Meta would want to release a headset without a controller, since there are hardly any apps that work with hand tracking alone. Maybe in 3 to 5 years, but next year already?
As always, rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. The reports about the specs and capabilities of the Quest 3 Lite so far are still contradictory.
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