Jul 26, 2022 - Technology

Meta raises VR headset prices by $100

Screenshot of a white virtual reality headset on a table. Text on the image indicates the headset costs $299

Meta Quest 2, currently listed at its outgoing price. Screenshot: Meta

Meta announced Tuesday that it would raise the price of both models of its core virtual reality product, the Quest 2 headset, by $100 effective August 1.

Why it matters: Tech hardware prices almost always go down over time, or customers get more for the same price. But Meta is betting it can raise prices even as it's trying to push the entire market towards its metaverse promised land.

Details: The entry-level Quest 2 will go up from $299 to $399; a model with more storage will increase from $399 to $499.

  • The company cited rising costs to "make and ship our products" and said the higher price was necessary to "continue to grow our investment in groundbreaking research and new product development" in VR.

The big picture: Meta announces quarterly earnings Wednesday, and the price change is arriving alongside reports of internal pressure from leadership for the company to produce results.

  • Three months ago, the company reported revenue of $28 billion for Q1 2022, $7 billion in net income.
  • But its Reality Labs division, which includes its VR work, has lost billions each of the last three years.

Between the lines: Meta needs to speed adoption of VR technology if its metaverse vision is to take hold, yet hiking headset prices is likely to depress sales.

  • The company renamed itself Meta last year, and founder Mark Zuckerberg has regularly demoed company headsets, including an upcoming post-Quest model, to show how he expects people to interact with the more connected virtual landscape his company is creating.
  • But adoption of VR headsets has been slow, and Meta has avoided saying how many it has sold. (It prefers to tout that users have spent over $1 billion on Quest apps.)
  • Researchers at IDC peg the Quest 2's lifetime sales at 15 million since its late 2020 launch. That's a big number for VR gear but indicates slow uptake compared to phones, tablets or game consoles.

Yes, but: VR isn't necessarily required for the metaverse. That term can refer to any persistently integrated network of virtual systems, and is likely to be accessible by phones and computers, not just VR goggles.

Meanwhile: Meta's announcement came just hours after Sony showed more features of its upcoming PlayStation VR 2 headset.

  • That device still has no release date or price.

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