Undated photo provided by Meta Connect of its new virtual reality headset, the Meta Quest Pro –
Meta (Facebook, Instagram) on Tuesday presented a new virtual reality headset designed in particular for professional use, a year after its name change and the announcement of its desire to build the metaverse.
The Meta Quest pro, which can be ordered Tuesday for $1,500 and will ship at the end of the month, features a number of technological advancements that are meant to improve users’ perception of truly being in the presence of other people.
The new helmet must make it possible to view not only virtual worlds but also the real environment of the user, thanks to high-resolution cameras turned towards the outside.
Cameras turned towards the interior are used to reproduce the facial expressions of the user on his avatar in the virtual universe he frequents, during a meeting with colleagues for example.
“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 the company’s advancements 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.
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 more than $5 million in revenue has doubled since last year. That’s what a platform that takes off looks like,” said Andrew Bosworth, the chief technology officer of the American group.
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.