Oct 11, 2022 - Technology

Meta expands VR gaming efforts

Video game screenshot of a first-person perspective of being Iron Man. Armored red hands appear on screen.

Iron Man VR. Screenshot: Camouflaqj, SIE

Meta’s virtual reality gaming plans will remain focused on its growing Quest market, even as it introduces a new $1,500 Quest Pro VR headset.

Why it matters: Meta, Facebook's parent company, found a tech standard for gaming in 2020 that it thinks works and is sticking with it, despite releasing more powerful headsets before and since.

  • To that end, the new Quest Pro headset will run the same game store and list the same games as its current main VR offering, 2020’s Quest 2, according to Meta.
  • That headset was weaker than earlier Oculus VR headsets from Meta/Facebook but more popular because it did not need to be plugged into a powerful PC.

What they're saying: “All the customer interest is on Quest,” Chris Pruett, Meta’s director of content for VR, told Axios.

  • By extension, he added, that's where it's good for developers to be.
  • “For me, the main goal is that our ecosystem is a healthy one, which means you don't need to be the next Minecraft or something to make a profit,” he said.
  • “You can grow your business and make a profit, or make the next game or make the next game after that with a mid-tier success on our platform.”

Numbers: Meta is promoting Quest 2’s gaming market as a success, hyping $50 million generated by The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners on the Meta Quest headset.

  • The company says a VR version of Resident Evil 4 generated more than $2 million in its first 24 hours of release.
  • And it notes that $1.5 billion has been spent on games and apps in the Quest store.
  • However, Meta does not share adoption numbers for its headsets and doesn’t release player stats.

Context: Meta’s investment in gaming is increasing. It is expanding its first-party studios, with the acquisition of Camouflaj, Twisted Pixel, and Armature, the last of which is a veteran team formed by the lead creators of Nintendo’s Metroid Prime games.

  • Camouflaj’s most recent game, Iron Man VR, will come to Quest. The game was formerly a PlayStation VR exclusive.
  • Other upcoming titles include Among Us VR and a sandbox mode for Population One.
  • It's also promising to support Xbox Cloud Gaming through the Quest headset.
  • Pruett, who focuses on working with third-party developers, says Meta is funding more than 100 upcoming games and is striving to ensure there are multiple new game releases for the Quest store each week.

Thought bubble: With Sony's powerful PSVR 2 releasing in early 2023, Meta could have promoted Quest Pro or Quest 2's optional tethered-to-PC mode as its answer for high-end VR gaming.

  • But it's choosing not to, seemingly ceding the most technologically advanced VR gaming to Sony while aiming for a more mass market, lower-spec approach. That lane has been Meta's most successful for VR gaming so far.
  • One card Meta didn't play today: The status of some of the flashier big-franchise titles previously announced for Quest VR, including Assassin's Creed and Grand Theft Auto games. A Meta representative said it did not have any updates to share.

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