This week, Meta announced that the base price of the Quest 2 VR headset will increase from $299 to $399 and while that will be frustrating for VR buyers in the short term, let me explain why it’s almost certainly a good thing for VR buyers. fans.
The Quest 2 is easily the best standalone VR headset on the market and as we emphasized early and often in our review, the starting price of $299 was just as great as the product itself. We’ve been reviewing the best VR headsets for years, and one of the biggest challenges was spending at least $2,000 between the headset and the VR-ready laptop to get into VR.
The original Oculus Quest started things off at $399 for a good standalone experience, but the Quest 2 really blew the doors off the top with an excellent user experience for under $300. So how can that be a bad thing?
The problem with the Quest 2 being an absolutely unbeatable deal was precisely that there was no room for competition. Meta was willing to take a loss on the hardware because users had to log in through a Facebook account (your data is worth money) and it locked you into the Oculus ecosystem.
When Meta shut down the Facebook account requirement earlier this month, we felt it was too good to be true, and it turned out we were right. That was clearly a harbinger of this price increase, Meta first wanted to enjoy a round of positive press before dropping the other shoe. The ecosystem lock-in is annoying, but that’s definitely something we’ve grown accustomed to with people like Apple shielding you in the same way.
The reality is that even with this price increase, the Quest 2 remains the best standalone VR headset on the market and it’s still solid value, just not the excellent value it once was. Part of the reason for this is almost certainly the Quest 2 itself, what company would release a standalone VR headset in the face of such a strong competitor suffering a significant loss on every headset it sold? Meta could probably raise the price another $50 and still has no real concerns about competition.
I thought you said this was a good thing
If you’re reading this before August 1st when the price hike takes effect and you’ve been considering buying a Quest 2, be sure to do so. It’s a great VR headset and it’s unlikely you’ll see any value in it anytime soon. But for anyone looking to buy on or after August 1, including those watching this year’s Christmas shopping season, there’s no denying that this sucks.
So go ahead and curse Meta for a moment and then let’s see why it’s a good thing for VR. Now that the Quest 2 has been pushed to a price that more accurately reflects hardware costs, it opens things up again for potential competitors. It probably still needs to be a company like Valve that has both VR experience and can own its entire ecosystem to offset some of the cost, but given the Quest 2 is two years old, a competitor would definitely be comparable or better. hardware in the $400 to $500 range.
Not only might this give you a different spin on standalone VR hardware than what we got from Meta, but it will also push Meta to stay price competitive with its hardware rather than just push it to find what the market will bear.
VR is seemingly everywhere these days with a plethora of talk about the Metaverse and devices like the PSVR 2, Apple AR/VR headset, and a Quest 2 Pro, all announced or rumored to arrive in the near future. However, for VR and AR, we are still in the early stages. I’m sure there are brilliant people working on VR at Meta, but I also have no doubt that VR as a whole will benefit from more companies working on both VR hardware and software to push each other and realize the full potential of virtual reality. .