Facebook parent Meta on Tuesday unveiled a high-end virtual reality headset in hopes that people will soon use it to work and play in the still-elusive place called the “metaverse.”
The $1,500 Meta Quest Pro headset has high-resolution sensors that let people see virtual and augmented mixed reality in color, as well as eye tracking and so-called “natural facial expressions” that mimic movement of the wearer’s face so that their avatars appear natural when interacting with other avatars in virtual reality environments.
Formerly known as Facebook, Meta is in the midst of a business transformation it says will take years. It wants to evolve from a social platform provider to a dominant power in a nascent virtual reality construct called a metaverse — much like the internet coming to life, or at least rendered in 3D.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the Metaverse as an immersive virtual environment, a place where people can virtually “enter” rather than just watch it on a screen. The company is investing billions in its metaverse plans that will likely take years to bear fruit.
VR headsets are already popular with some gamers, but Meta knows that won’t be enough to make the metaverse mainstream. As such, it puts office workers – and home office workers – in its sights.
“Meta is positioning the new Meta Quest Pro headset as an alternative to using a laptop,” said Rolf Illenberger, founder and CEO of VRdirect, which creates VR environments for businesses. But he added that for companies to operate in the virtual worlds of the metaverse is still “quite a stretch”.
Meta also announced that its metaverse avatars will soon have legs – an important detail that has been missing since the avatars debuted last year.