Meta’s official mother-in-chief, Mark Zuckerberg, swung his head toward the minivan’s back seat to tell all his Apple-obsessed Meta Quest 3 customers, “We have Vision Pro at home.” The company is planning to facilitate Apple’s own “spatial video” within the Meta Quest 3 in hopes that even more augmented reality capabilities and even Vision Pro-like “pinch controls” will buoy the company’s VR ambitions.
The company’s next v62 release coming the week of Feb. 7 will include a full spatial video gallery (with a preview for Quest users) so iPhone 15 Pro, Pro Max, and even double-dipping Vision Pro users can watch their 3D-ish videos with their Quest 2, Quest Pro, and Quest 3 headsets. Zuckerburg demoed this on his Instagram account, showing a pair of twin pines while looking through the Quest 3 passthrough.
Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth said on Threads that Quest users were already looking at spatial videos through their headsets, though it was a further involved process. Apple’s spatial video works by encoding it from two perspectives at once, allowing it to display on both lenses of a VR headset, giving it that 3D effect. Instead of going through the hassle of making spatial work on Quest, now users will have a full gallery to watch their 3D content. These videos are limited to 20 minutes on the Quest 3, and they’re practically unlimited on Apple’s MR device.
But the Quest seems to be taking even more cues from Apple’s first-time VR release. Now, users can use a pinch gesture to open the universal menu. Holding the same gesture would also refresh the headset’s view once your FOV starts to go awry. The upcoming v62 also includes a few other improvements, like support for up to 15 spaces so you can easily go from room to room without needing to rescan each environment in the Quest 3. It’s the kind of seamlessness the Apple Vision Pro already boasts, and it seems Meta is trying to keep up with the Joneses.
The $500 Quest 3 is a capable headset, and it’s easily the best version of the company’s VR technology for its price. It costs a seventh of the $3,500 Apple Vision Pro, and Meta is likely hoping that all the attention towards Apple’s first foray into the mixed reality landscape will be a tide that raises all boats.
That’s especially important now after the company revealed its latest quarterly financial report Thursday, showing that the company’s VR-centric Reality Labs division had an operating loss of $4.65 billion versus $1 billion in sales, bringing the grand total to $42 billion in losses since 2020. Zuckerberg told investors, “Quest 3 is off to a strong start, and I expect it to continue to be the most popular mixed reality device.”
Yearly VR losses are expected at this point, and the company reported increased sales by 25% year over year. This was despite how the VR market has been down in the dumps, with sales slumping by 40% at the end of 2023, according to data from research firm Circana reported by CNBC.