Meta Reportedly Plans to Release Four More VR Headsets by 2024

If Meta wants to see its metaverse vision become a reality, it needs to get more people into VR headsets – because the majority of the instances of Zuck and Co.’s imagined metaverse that we’ve seen thus far feature completely immersive virtual reality and digital spaces that allow for an infinite number of interactions.

According to a new report based on Meta’s intentions, the company expects to introduce four new VR headsets over the next two years.

According to The Information, “Meta is planning to introduce Project Cambria, a high-end VR and mixed-reality headset it’s billing as a device for the future of work, around September,” according to a source familiar with the situation. Cambria was supposed to come out last year, but it was put back because of problems with the supply chain and other pandemic problems.

Indeed, Meta gave us a first look at the Cambria headset late last year, which appears to be a more enclosed device. According to reports, the Cambria headset will include high-resolution image quality for more granular applications, as well as the ability for the wearer to view their real-world surroundings using outward-facing cameras, which might enable whole new mixed-reality experiences.

Cambria will also be the first of Meta’s headsets to have eye-tracking and facial expression recognition features, which will make it even easier to interact with the digital world. At the moment, it appears that the more advanced model is aimed at professional users, with a specific focus on allowing remote meetings and collaboration while also enabling more general use of VR applications.

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Following the release of the first version of Cambria, Meta is planning to make a more advanced VR headset that will be out in 2024. It will also make two new versions of its popular Quest headset in 2023 and 2024.

At the same time, Meta’s AR glasses, now termed Project Aria, are tentatively scheduled for retail release in 2024, and will essentially expand on its Ray-Ban Stories initial smart glasses release (Note: Meta’s now also referring to its AR glasses as ‘Project Nazare,’ which could suggest that there are two types of these in development as well).

The schedule will see Meta make a large push on VR, in line with its metaverse shift, which will ideally both accelerate VR take-up and help Meta generate more money faster from its next-level digital environments – because right now, Meta shareholders are justifiably concerned about Meta’s decide-out timeline for seeing any significant returns on its metaverse efforts.

As part of Meta’s Q1 earnings report, which was released last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained the company’s long-term ambition, as well as how many of its current projects will not pay off for some time.

“We’re now basically paying for product teams to build our future products, two or three versions down the road,” says the company. There are a lot of long-term plans when you’re designing hardware, and you have to figure out how everything will work together over a number of years.

It won’t be until those items really hit the market and scale in a meaningful way, and this market becomes large, that this will be a significant revenue or profit contributor to the business.

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So that’s why I’ve given color on previous calls that I expect us to make later this decade, right? Perhaps most importantly, this is setting the framework for what I believe to be a really exciting 2030s when technology is more established as the major computer platform.”

So Meta is well aware that this is a long-term plan, with the metaverse expected to go through several revisions before becoming the fully functional, immersive engagement experience that the business intends (take note, for all those peddling their NFT projects and similar, claiming that the metaverse is already here).

But it also means that the company’s stockholders will have to hang out for a little longer, as costs and expenses continue to rise, in the hopes that Zuckerberg’s grand vision will come true.

If that’s true, Meta is now looking for ways to cut costs in order to improve its bottom line and push out new products that will help VR become more popular and start making real money from that part of the business. Which is going on. Meta says that people have already spent more than a billion dollars on Quest store content. Quest 2 sales are going up all the time.

Meta Reportedly Plans to Release 4 VR Headsets
Meta Reportedly Plans to Release 4 VR Headsets

The opportunity is definitely evolving, and Meta is now eager to capitalize on it, with the establishment of its first retail store focusing on VR unit sales, as well as this new effort to create new VR headset types to appeal to different use cases.

Meta’s headsets will be in high demand again this holiday season before the company makes its next big move into the metaverse environment. As a result, these new devices will play a role in the metaverse push, with its AR glasses also playing a role. This could make them a key connective device for people who want to take advantage of all the new activity in the metaverse.

Which is what Meta needs. It’s one thing to boast about the next level of involvement, but if there’s nothing particularly engaging in the VR space, no one will care how technologically amazing these new headsets are.

That’s how it feels right now. VR worlds exist, and there is a continually growing range of alternatives accessible in Meta’s digital environment, but it’s not a particularly attractive option, and motion sickness and itchiness from the headgear are additional problems that can restrict the amount of time that individuals will spend in VR in any given session.

Really, Meta could use some more appealing apps and tools, and perhaps Horizon Worlds, its VR creation platform, will become that, while VR adaptations of popular games like Grand Theft Auto and Resident Evil might also help improve word of mouth and see even more take-up.

There are also mental health problems to consider, which ideally Meta is taking into account as it expands its push, with the more contained VR environment set to be much more destructive than current social networking platforms.

Meta has also announced a VR creator funding program to help feed more unique, next-level experiences, but all of this will take time, and it’s difficult to imagine VR becoming a must-have choice until there’s a truly compelling, critical mass-type reason to check in every day. I think it will happen, but we haven’t seen it yet. When it does arrive, though, you can expect rapid growth in VR adoption, as well as a rise in Meta’s stock price.

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