What to look forward to

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Virtual Reality 2024: What to look forward to

Image: Meta / Apple

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In 2024, we may see the launch of exciting new headsets that will have a lasting impact on the industry. A look ahead.

Playstation VR 2 and Meta Quest 3 were released this year, and 2024 will be crucial for the further development of both devices.

Will Sony step up its game or leave the fate of the VR platform to third-party studios? If the addressable market for Playstation VR 2 remains small, VR developers may jump ship or prioritize other, larger VR platforms, which is already happening.

On the Meta Quest 3 side, I am hoping for a rapid evolution of the mixed reality APIs and the apps and games that use them. I would also like to see one or two exclusive titles that show what the new Snapdragon chipset can do. Meta needs to flex its muscles on both fronts to keep the Quest 3 momentum going.

The last year of the Quest 2?

Towards the end of the year, there were more and more reports that Meta would launch a pared-down version of the Quest 3 in 2024, which would be priced in the same range as the Meta Quest 2 and would permanently replace it. If the rumors are true, the new device could also use the new Snapdragon chip. In this case, exclusive titles for Quest 3 would also be playable on the “Quest 3 Lite”.

It is expected that Meta will strongly incentivize consumers to leave the aging Quest 2 behind and upgrade to the new generation of hardware. After all, the ecosystem and the hardware can only evolve through technological progress.

We can only speculate about the Quest 3 Lite’s specs at the moment, and it will be interesting to see if the hardware rumors become more concrete in the coming months. If the headset does arrive, it will have a bigger impact on the VR industry than the Quest 3 due to its much lower price. It will be the most impactful headset of the year, alongside the Apple Vision Pro.

Apple Vision Pro: a new paradigm

Apple’s mixed reality headset will launch in early 2024 and takes an entirely different approach than Meta Quest. Apple set out to prove that VR headsets are a viable computing platform and is driving development from that side, while Meta Quest is still primarily a VR gaming console and is used as such by most people. Meta Quest Pro was an attempt to go beyond this paradigm, which failed due to Meta’s immature hardware and software.

The first generation of the Vision Pro will not open up a lucrative new market for developers. At this point, the device is simply too expensive and too limited in quantities to reach the mainstream. I think the biggest achievement of the first Vision Pro will be that it makes the public look at VR and AR with new eyes and gives the industry new impetus in terms of hardware and software design.

If Quest 3 Lite arrives, 2024 will be an extraordinary year, with high-impact headsets at both ends of the price spectrum: Quest 3 Lite will drive the technology’s proliferation, while Vision Pro will drive its recognition and sophistication. The industry needs both approaches.

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