Facebook Jacks Up Price Of The One Affordable VR Headset

Facebook Jacks Up Price Of The One Affordable VR Headset
Photo: Amy Osborne, Getty Images

Usually gaming hardware prices get cheaper over time. But Meta is bucking that trend and raising the price of its entry-level Quest 2 VR headset by $US100 ($139). The company formerly known as Facebook says it’s to help pay for innovation, a move that comes as Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company scrambles to fend off the rise of TikTok and billions in recent losses.

Beginning in August, the Meta Quest 2 will go from $AU479 to $AU579 (roughly) for the 128GB model, and from $AU639 to $AU739 for the 256GB one. Meta wrote in a post announcing the change that it’s “invested billions of dollars to help nurture a thriving VR ecosystem” since the early days of PC and mobile, and that the massive price hike will “help [it] continue to invest for the long term.”

The point of pricing the Meta Quest 2 so low to begin with — the same as the Nintendo Switch but for a wire-free VR headset — was to aggressively drive early adoption and help lift up a market that has stalled for years. With the $100 hike, the Quest 2 will still be the cheapest headset on the market, but the 33% increase will still put the entry-level technology out of the reach of many more people as a result.

While a hard pill to swallow from a company that made over $10 billion in profits last quarter, the temporary retreat isn’t shocking in the face of recent market turmoil. Meta’s stock price has fallen in half since the beginning of 2022. New privacy changes instituted on Apple devices reportedly cost the company some $14) billion in revenue. An overhaul of the Facebook and Instagram apps to try and copy TikTok have resulted in a very public backlash by the Kardashians.

Meta has been burning billions on moving VR technology forward over the last couple of years, but with his empire facing existential challenges, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now bracing employees for a more brutal era of corporate austerity. Rather than cut funding for R&D, raising prices is one way to keep his bet on a lucrative VR metaverse going.

“We can either reduce funding for future stuff, or we can take more pain in terms of a little bit less profitability,” he told staff last month in-between threatening layoffs, according to The Verge. “Constitutionally, it’s more painful for me to slow down the progress that we’re making towards the long term than it is to have a short-term difficult period.”

In the meantime, Meta is preparing to launch its higher-end Project Cambria headset later this year. And while partner projects like Splinter Cell VR were recently cancelled, Ghostbusters, Among Us, and The Walking Dead VR games are still on the way. So too is Sony’s new PSVR 2 headset. Still without a price or launch date, the PS5 manufacturer has continued teasing new details about the updated technology.

Comments

  • The Instagram outrage kinda feels like a lot of Kardashian style influencers worried about losing influence because they can’t compete with the normies making random videos.

    I don’t know, I don’t use any of those sites.

  • “Facebook Jacks Up Price Of The One Affordable VR Headset”
    headline should really be
    “Facebook Now Sells Hardware At Cost Price After Heavy Loss-Leading To Undercut Entire Industry”

    • Basically all other popular headsets were, and still are, priced SO far out that they were never getting a consideration from average consumers in the first place. On top of which they also required a decent enough computer to even use them.

      The only one close would be the Playstation VR, which is nearly 6 years old at this point, and again only if you already had the console to run it.

      You can hate Facebook/Meta as much as you want… But if you want to be honest about this situation, they never had any competition to undercut in the first place. Realistically they still don’t.

      • Undercutting probably made it more difficult for prospective opposition to consider competing in the first place, especially with how the market was then affected by lockdowns and supply chain issues. Something like the VIVE flow might have shown potential if HTC could focus on anything properly for more than thirty seconds and not tied the hardware to phone apps, but not being able to sell at a loss like FB meant there was no viability exploring the gaming market after how they mishandled the Cosmos.

        I believe Pico has some competitor sets to the Quest line becoming available in Europe as part of a move into the Western market, and PSVR2 could be very interesting depending on price and whether or not it can be used with PCs. So there is tentative competition coming up late this year and early next year. There is also some R&D happening which might offer some different approaches to lens configurations and possibly affect pricing shifts another year or so after that.

        For now though it’s probably still an awkward time to try to develop consumer hardware in the space aside from giant corporations whose money isn’t actually in said hardware (hence the main competition for FB being another country’s version of FB).

        • // Undercutting probably made it more difficult for prospective opposition to consider competing in the first place, especially with how the market was then affected by lockdowns and supply chain issues. //
          The idea that any business should price their products according to future competitor products that don’t even exist yet isn’t an argument, it’s nonsense.

          And if we follow that same logic then the Quest’s entire market wouldn’t even be ‘allowed’ either, as years ago Oculus would have had to stop building their own ecosystem PURELY on account of no other one like it existing to compete.

          Releasing cheap products makes ACTUAL competitors step up. Instead of all these theoretical potential competitors who I’m sure are probably very happy to sit around being defended with extremely weird excuses like, “Oh we could TOTALLY have made something better, if it wasn’t for that pesky Zuckerberg!”

          And let’s be really honest shall we, if it wasn’t for the success of the Quest and Facebook’s frankly monumental VR push the past couple of years, the vast majority of companies would still consider VR in its entirety to to be some passing fad utterly not worth their time.

  • Small increase but people will still bitch and moan, just like they did with the requirement for a social media account (since removed).

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