Meta Quest 3 is here – a state-of-the-art virtual and mixed reality headset that promises to bring the immersive world to the mainstream audience. Will that really be the case?A successor to the Quest 2, the Meta Quest 3 is a powerhouse of technology, boasting improved displays, snappier performance, and a more comfortable hardware design. Priced at €454,54 for the 128GB model and €577,68 for the 512GB variant at VR Expert, the Quest 3 sits on the more expensive side compared to the previous model, Quest 2, which starts at €315. However, when compared to other mixed reality devices in the market, such as Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro priced at €3 300, the Quest 3 is undoubtedly a more affordable option.
The Quest 3’s mixed reality features are its biggest selling point. The device comes equipped with cameras and sensors that provide a better passthrough view, allowing users to see their real-world space through the headset in full color and higher resolution. This improved passthrough not only makes it easier to navigate the physical world while wearing the headset but also enables the device to superimpose digital content over the real world in real time.
Yet, according to early reviews, the device is not without its flaws. The mixed reality experience struggles in low light conditions, and the content library is not as extensive as that of gaming consoles like Sony and Microsoft. Additionally, the passthrough feature is not sharp enough, leaving room for improvement.
While the device needs some refinement, let’s not look at it as a shortcoming. At least not yet. What Quest 3 holds is a great potential for democratizing immersive experiences by making it more accessible and user-friendly. That will certainly not happen with Apple’s device, so perhaps we can be gracious about the slight deficiencies, and focus on strengths instead.
The device’s comfortable design and improved passthrough make it easier for users to engage with VR for extended periods, and the mixed reality features, while still in their infancy, show promise in blending the digital and real worlds seamlessly.
It is clear that Meta’s vision for the Quest 3 is not just to be the best reasonably priced headset, compared to HoloLens of Magic Leap that are more oriented towards specialized industry use instead of consumer use cases. Meta wants Quest 3 to be the device that makes people care about, use, and develop for mixed reality in a significant way, and that means for large audiences. By bringing mixed reality to the mainstream audience, the Quest 3 can play a crucial role in shaping the future of VR and how we interact with digital content.
The potential of the Quest 3 to fully democratize VR is low, but to provide a necessary step towards it at a relatively affordable price point is solid. The device’s improved features and user-friendly design make it easier for people to get familiar with VR and MR, and engage with digital content in a way that was not possible before.
Technology democratization is never a one-step procedure, rather it contains many phases. Launch of Quest 3 is one of them, as it makes good quality immersive experiences definitely more accessible. The device’s shortcomings are a reminder that the technology is still evolving, and that we have much more to look forward to.
Petra Palusova is writer for the VRX blog with an affinity for all-things-XR. Architect, systems scientist specialized in XR and synthetic environments, Petra is currently active as a product design lead, advisor and researcher delivering best practices, communications and business strategies to technology companies building XR products and platforms. A true jack of all trades!