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Meta’s plans to beat Apple’s Vision Pro include cheaper headsets and no controllers

Meta is looking down the road at a follow-up to the Quest 3, which is releasing this week, and plans to take cues from Apple’s Vision Pro while it races to mainstream its VR tech. That’s according to Mark Gurman in today’s Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, who writes that the company’s Quest headset marketing plans have changed in response to Apple’s Vision Pro announcement earlier this year. Part of the plan is to release a VR headset without controllers to get the cost down next year.

Gurman says a person within Meta told him the company is “in the ‘afraid of Apple’ stage,” comparing it to the mobile phone industry just before the iPhone’s launch. He writes that the company’s shift away from a heavy focus on the metaverse and more to pushing the practical uses of the headset — gaming and productivity — is a direct response to Apple’s pitch for the Vision Pro. You could argue that Apple’s headset is more down-to-Earth than immersive virtual worlds, even if its price is very much not.

Meta’s roadmap has involved making its next headset, codenamed Ventura, even cheaper — The Quest 3 is already less than 15 percent the cost of a Vision Pro — and more comfortable without sacrificing screen resolution. And apparently, according to Gurman, Meta is also looking at doing away with controller bundling to help with that, letting customers either just use hand gestures or buy controllers separately.

Apple and Meta are ultimately after different markets, but at the moment, the existing VR headset market is pretty much just “people who want VR headsets” — you know, early adopters. Meta is trying to figure out how things will shake out when the market actually grows, and to plant a foot in it, the company needs a different product, or it risks the Quest going the way of feature phones.

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