Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has launched a unique subscription service for its virtual reality (VR) Meta Quest+. This initiative represents Meta’s ambitious strategy to convert its VR division, which posted a $4 billion loss in the first quarter, into a profitable entity.
Meta Quest+ offers subscribers access to two carefully selected VR games each month. This service, which costs $7.99 per month or $59.99 per year, seeks to streamline the user experience, allowing players to delve into VR gaming without the hurdle of browsing through the extensive Meta Quest catalog.
The service is compatible with Meta’s VR headsets, including the popular Quest 2, Quest Pro, and the soon-to-be-released Quest 3. As part of a limited time offer, if users subscribe before July 31, they buy the first month’s subscription at a discounted rate of $1.
With this strategy, Meta is betting on the cumulative value of the service over time, potentially transforming their VR operations into a profitable venture.
Competition in the VR/AR space is set to only spike
While Meta continues to rule the VR roost thanks to its considerable investments and market-dominating Oculus Quest 2, new entrants like Sony and Apple are ramping up competition. As we move further into the VR era, consumers and industry watchers alike will be keen to see whether Meta can maintain its dominant position or whether these new challengers can disrupt the landscape.
The company is competing in a dynamic tech market, and now vying with other tech giant companies like Apple, which recently announced its mixed-reality headset: the Vision Pro. Apple’s headset, priced at $3,499, will be released in the US early next year. However, it has a significant price difference compared to Meta’s VR headsets, which cost between $299.99 and $999.99.
Zuckerberg’s dream of creating the ultimate metaverse
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, shared his vision of creating a “metaverse”, a digital world where individuals can play games, work, and socialize in a VR environment – basically an online world where people can play, work, and chat using VR.
“I aspire for us to be recognized as a metaverse company over time, and it’s important that we root our work and identity in what we’re developing,” said Zuckerberg.
Meta has several ambitious artificial intelligence (AI) projects, underscoring Zuckerberg’s belief in AI as the cornerstone for unlocking the metaverse’s potential.
In the first quarter of the 2023, the firm’s financial performance exceeded market projections, posting earnings of $5.7 billion. But, Reality Labs, the subdivision responsible for the creation of VR headsets and related items, reported losses of $4 billion.
Opinion: Meta’s Big Bet
This news represents Meta’s latest move in trying to make VR more popular.
But, of course, there’s the elephant in the room: the risky move went ahead despite the VR part of Meta’s business losing money. Yet, Meta isn’t backing down, rather: the company continues to pout billions into it, hoping it will pay off in the future.
It’s sort of like a new restaurant that isn’t making a profit yet, but the owner, believing in the potential, decides to invest more money to improve the menu and the dining experience, hoping that more people will come in the future. This, in a nutshell, is pretty much what Meta is doing. They believe that VR, and their vision of a Metaverse, is the future.
However, it’s not just Meta out there trying to serve up the best VR experience. Other companies, such as Sony and Apple, also have their unique dishes on the VR menu. Sony has its own VR device mainly for video games, and Apple’s VR/AR product could potentially offer a different, more appealing experience for consumers. With these other strong competitors, it’s not a guaranteed win for Meta.
But Meta does have a few things going for it. Their VR device, Oculus Quest 2, has been selling really well (relatively), proving that there is a market. What’s more, the newly new subscription service, Meta Quest+, is like a special members club, offering customers selected games each month for a set price. This could keep their current customers happy and draw in new ones – almost following the footsteps of Microsoft’s incredibly popular Game Pass model.
To sum it up, Meta’s big bet on VR is risky but could potentially lead to great things. They’ve invested a lot of money and effort into something that’s not yet profitable. But if they manage to win over enough customers and stay ahead of the competition, they could end up shaping the future of VR and the Metaverse. It’s a daring game, but in the world of technology, it’s often the bold and the brave that come out on top. Only time will tell.