This week Meta announced that the Quest 2 VR headset’s base price is jumping from $299 to $399 and while that’s going to be disappointing for VR buyers in the short term, I’ll explain that it’s almost certainly a must-have for VR fans. Why is that a good thing?
The Quest 2 is easily the best standalone VR headset on the market and as we highlighted early and often in our review, the starting price of $299 was as amazing as the product itself. We’ve been reviewing the best VR headsets for years and one of the biggest challenges is that between a headset and a VR-ready laptop you were spending $2,000 to get into VR.
The original Oculus Quest started things off at $399 for a decent standalone experience, but the Quest 2 really closed the doors with an excellent user experience for less than $300. So how can this be a bad thing?
The problem with Quest 2 being an absolutely unbeatable deal was that it left no room for competition. Meta was ready to take a loss on the hardware because it required users to sign in through a Facebook account (your data is worth the money) and it locked you into the Oculus ecosystem.
When Meta eliminated the Facebook account requirement earlier this month, we thought it was too good to be true, and it turns out we were right. This was clearly a harbinger of this price hike Meta wanted to enjoy a round of positive press before dropping the other shoe. Ecosystem lock-in is annoying, but it’s certainly something we’ve become accustomed to as the likes of Apple lock you in.
The reality is that even with this price hike the Quest 2 remains the best standalone VR headset on the market and it’s still a solid value, not a one-time outstanding value. Now that the reason is almost certainly the Quest 2 itself, which company was going to release a standalone VR headset in the face of such a strong competitor that it was taking huge losses on every headset it sold? Meta could probably raise the price another $50 and still have no real worries about competition.
(image credit: meta)
I thought you said it was a good thing
If you’re reading this before August 1, when the price hike goes into effect and you’re considering buying the Quest 2, by all means, do it. It’s a great VR headset and you’re not likely to see an equivalent price anytime soon. But for anyone shopping on or after August 1 who is looking forward to the holiday shopping season this year, there’s no doubt that it sucks.
So go ahead and curse the meta for a second and then let’s see why this is a good thing for VR. Now that the Quest 2 has been pushed up to a price point that more accurately reflects hardware costs, it opens things back up to potential competitors. It’s still likely to be a company like Valve that both has a VR experience and may own its entire ecosystem to offset some of the cost, but given that Quest 2 is two years old, a competitor might be a whole lot more. may deliver comparable or better hardware in some way. $400 to $500 range.
Not only does this give you a different spin on standalone VR hardware than what you’d get from Meta, but it will prompt Meta to remain competitive with its hardware, rather than push the market to afford it.
VR seems to be everywhere these days regarding the Metaverse and devices like the PSVR 2, Apple AR/VR headset and Quest 2 Pro, all announced or rumored to be coming in the near future. However, we are still in the very early days for VR and AR. I’m sure there are great people working on VR in the meta, but there’s also no doubt in my mind that more companies working on both VR hardware and software are looking to push each other and unlock its full potential. VR will benefit. virtual reality.
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