Did you think Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta was done with its soon-to-be old virtual reality headset? Think again. The company formerly known as Facebook announced the popular Oculus Quest 2 will get an upgrade and see its price slashed by $100, bringing it back down to where it was a year ago before Meta took the unprecedented step of hiking the price to $400.
“Starting June 4, we’re lowering the price of Quest 2 to $299.99 USD for the 128GB SKU to help even more people access the magic of VR,” Meta revealed today alongside the announcement of its new $500 Quest 3 headset. $300 was how much the Quest 2 was in 2022 before the company raised it amid shaky financials and a stock market sell-off. Following a couple brutal waves of mass layoffs, shareholders seem happier, and it seems VR enthusiasts can go back to grabbing the entry-level headset at a steal.
The Quest 2’s 256GB SKU is getting an even bigger price cut, going from $500 down to $350, no doubt to get out of the way of the superior Quest 3. Both Quest 2 versions, meanwhile, are getting software upgrades that Meta says will increase their CPU efficiency by 26 percent while the GPU will get a 19 percent increase. “As developers take advantage of these changes, you can expect smoother gameplay, a more responsive UI, and richer content on both headsets,” the company wrote.
The big draw of the Quest headsets, which have sold over 20 million units to date, is that they don’t require external computers to run them. That and the low price, which up until now at least was no doubt subsidized by Meta, made it an attractive way for newcomers to explore VR for gaming or fitness. The more premium PS VR2, meanwhile, costs $550 and requires players to have a PlayStation 5 as well, adding at least another $400 to the investment.
But VR headsets are only as good as the games and experiences you can use them for, and development still seems precarious, especially as companies are cutting staff. In addition to a recent string of game studio and publisher layoffs, Meta also cut some of its own internal developers at recently acquired VR studios like Ready at Dawn, which had previously made the PS4 exclusive The Order: 1866.
The real test of VR, for gaming fans at least, remains whether the platforms can create a virtuous cycle of investment that encourages more large publishers to make exclusive spin-offs or adaptations of their most popular franchises. Companies are taking steps in that direction with PS5’s PS VR2, which is eventually getting a VR version of Resident Evil 4 and reportedly an Assassin’s Creed game codenamed Project Nexus.