Quest 3 Continues Meta’s Sunk Cost Fallacy for a VR Mass Market That Does Not & Likely Cannot Exist

Quest 3 Meta problems

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced our next-generation virtual and mixed reality headset, which launches later this year. It’s called Meta Quest 3. It features higher resolution, stronger performance, breakthrough Meta Reality technology, and a slimmer, more comfortable form factor. Quest 3 will ship in all countries where Meta Quest is currently supported this fall. The 128GB headset starts at $499.99 USD, and we’ll offer an additional storage option for those who want some extra space. Mark your calendars because we’ll have lots more to share at Meta Connect, which returns this year on September 27.

In fairness, today’s announcement also includes news that the Quest 2 price will be dropped back to $300, a smart move. (Which corrected Meta’s own failed strategy with Horizon Worlds versus VRChat and Rec Room last year.) Also, I don’t mean to slam Quest 3’s technical specs: For niche but extremely valuable applications of VR, such as physical and medical therapy, this new headset should be a valuable improvement.

But Meta claims much more with Quest 3, even calling it “[O]ur first mass-market offering to deliver both cutting-edge VR and MR experiences in a single device, setting a new benchmark for future headsets.”

But if they couldn’t reach a mass market with a much less expensive HMD, what makes them think they’ll do so with a better much pricier model?

And that only pays into part of Meta’s sunk cost fallacy, because as I write in Making a Metaverse That Matters, we have no evidence that the company has addressed that small problem in which half the population tends to literally puke in VR:

Shortly after the Oculus purchase was announced, esteemed academic danah boyd, a Partner Researcher at Microsoft Research, published a much-discussed opinion piece in the online business site Quartz, proactively entitled: “Is the Oculus Rift sexist?” In it, danah brought up an earlier study she had published that strongly suggested VR tended to make women nauseous.

I’ve repeatedly asked Meta about this and received no reply. In 2017, I asked John Carmack himself if the company had tested its product by gender to address the issues that danah had raised. He wasn’t sure: “I’m not involved with any of our user studies,” Carmack told me then, “so I don’t have any insight there.” He pointed me to Oculus’ PR contact, but my question to them yielded no answer.

Much more on that soon! 

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