Meta Quest News Round-Up: Quest 2 Price Drop, Quest 3 Promo Extended, and Meta VR Studio Fund Launched

After six months on the market, the Quest 3 is garnering less attention than its new rival, the Apple Vision Pro. However, despite increased competition, the Quest headset range continues to sell well. 

But without any major product launches on the horizon, it doesn’t mean Meta is not busy. 

Recently, a series of smaller stories hint at the future of Meta’s mixed reality strategy. This includes another Quest 2 price decrease, the extension of the Quest 3 Asgaard’s Wrath 2 promo, an Unreal Engine XR showcase, and some exciting news about a VR studio fund. 

Let’s explore the latest Meta-related stories and what glimpses they might offer into what’s to come. 

Meta Quest 2 Drops In Price to £200

After a series of promotional offers since the launch of the Quest 3, Meta’s popular second-generation VR headset has reached a new low price of £200 (or $200 in the US). The headset fared well over the holiday season, with promotional offers stoking sales. 

Now, the 128 GB version of the Quest 2 has reached its lowest price ever amidst rumours that a Quest 3 Lite will launch soon. The 256 GB model has been out of stock for a while. 

The suggestion is that Meta is attempting to free up warehouse space and sell-through inventory, as it will be replaced soon with a new, lower-priced version of the Quest 3. 

It’s believed the headset, which will either be called the Quest 3S or Quest 3 Lite, will feature the same chip as the Quest 3 but the same type of Fresnel lenses found on the Quest 2. This new headset could retail for around £300. 

Quest 3 Lite rumours come alongside talk of a Meta and LG partnership. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently visited LG in South Korea to discuss a production deal. There are also suggestions that Meta could develop a headset to rival Apple’s Vision Pro. It’s rumoured that this could launch as early as 2025. 

Meta has yet to make an announcement on the subject. However, if the device is discontinued and replaced soon, the Quest 2 will become outdated quickly. While existing games and apps will continue to run, newer content may not work. 

Asgard’s Wrath 2 Promo Will Run Until June

Since the Quest 3 launched last year, it has come with a free copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2. This 60+ VR-only RPG features open-world elements and has received favourable reviews. The Quest 3 promotion was due to end in January. However, Meta extended the offer. 

The offer has been extended for a second time. Until the end of June this year, Quest 3 buyers can receive a free copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2 with their new headset. 

Asgard’s Wrath 2 is currently the most expensive title for the Quest. Although it’s been given away free with every Quest 3 sold so far, Quest 2 and Pro users could also play the game which retails at £44.99. 

The game was developed by Sanzaru Games, Meta’s own in-house VR studio. To date, the game remains one of the most ambitious released on the Quest. 

Although the game is free with 128 GB and 512 GB versions of the Quest 3, customers need to redeem it. It’s not preinstalled. 

Meta Announces New XR Studio Fund

Since 2022, more than 27,000 jobs have been lost in the games industry. 8,000 of these jobs have gone in the last three months alone. 

VR is one of the areas of the gaming industry that is worst affected by job losses. Sony has recently closed London Studio and downsized the team at Firesprite. Additionally, First Contact Entertainment closed down in December, and many other smaller studios have made redundancies.

This is a blow to the VR industry, as many of the newly redundant developers were some of the most experienced working with mixed reality. This skill gap within the mixed reality could impact the quality and quantity of available content across all headsets, and ultimately slow down XR uptake. 

However, the layoffs of mixed reality developers could benefit other companies. 

Seeing the opportunity, Meta has announced the launch of Oculus Publishing Ignition, a fund that encourages laid-off VR developers to open their own studios and create new, original Quest content. 

At the moment, it’s unclear how much money Meta is investing in the initiative. However, the company aims to support 20 new VR studios this year. Oculus Publishing Ignition will help finance the development of VR game prototypes. It will run for six months, with the scope for additional funding to develop the games further. 

The application deadline is September 1st 2024, or until the fund has been spent. Any VR studies applying for funding must have been formed since April 2023. 

Any games must appeal to mainstream gamers, use the Quest 3’s interactive technologies, and be proprietary. Licensed content will not receive funding. Genres of particular interest to Meta include social apps, active sports games, and simulators. 

Any successful applicants will get their projects financed and receive professional support, Quest 3 devkits, and the opportunity to network with venture capitalists. The studio will retain the rights to its game, and Meta will reserve promotional rights. 

Since 2023, Meta’s VR game publishing arm has operated under the name Oculus Publishing. Although Meta often supports Quest content development, there has never been a formalised process or much clarity on what they look for. The new initiative provides a clear path for developers from new XR studios. 

Meta Releases XR Showcase for Unreal Engine Developers

Another way that Meta is encouraging new Quest projects is by releasing a new mixed-reality showcase for Unreal Engine developers. 

The showcase, Phanto, shows off many of Quest 3’s capabilities. Although not commercially available, it’s an open-source port of the Phanto project for Unity, released previously. 

The Unreal Engine version has been created to demonstrate Meta’s Presence Platform best practices and show off Passthrough, Scene Mesh, and Depth API functionality. 

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