The Meta Quest 2 is sold out everywhere – paving the way for the Meta Quest 3S

If you’ve waited until July 2024 to buy a Meta Quest 2 – nearly four years after its launch under the Oculus Quest 2 name – then you might be about to miss your chance, as the official Meta.com store is out of stock. However, it’s likely yet another sign that the Meta Quest 3S is ready to launch soon.

If you live in the US or Australia (or some of the other countries we checked, including Canada, France, and South Korea) instead of a blue “Add to bag” icon under the wildly popular Quest 2 VR headset, you’ll see a gray “Out of stock” notification instead. At the time of publishing it is still available in the UK, but only the cheapest £199.99 128GB Quest 2 can be bought – the pricier 256GB model is unavailable.

Even at third-party stores such as Amazon and Walmart most of the Quest 2s being sold appear to be from non-official resellers – at inflated, non RRP prices – suggesting stock is running dry everywhere. Again, a few bastions remain in select regions (such as the UK) but soon you won’t be able to buy a new Meta Quest 2 anywhere.

This is hardly the most shocking twist. The Meta Quest 3 is nearly a year old, and with Quest 3-exclusive software set to launch soon such as Batman: Arkham Shadow it’s not a surprise that Meta would want to phase out the older model so people instead buy the new headset.

Batman standing in the dark alone in Arkham Shadow

Is the Quest 3S looming in the shadows like Batman? (Image credit: Meta / Camouflaj)

However, the price gap between the new and older Meta Quest headsets is significant – a fact that makes VR less accessible now that the Quest 2 is going away.

Even ignoring the Meta Quest 2’s recent (phenomenally low) $ 199.99 / £199.99 / AU$ 359.99 price, its launch price of $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 is roughly 40% less than the Meta Quest 3’s official $ 499 / £479 / AU$ 799 price. While we think the Quest 3 is great value for money and worth that higher cost – we gave it five-stars in our review – $ 499 / £479 / AU$ 799 isn’t as budget-friendly a price as its predecessor.

That’s where a Meta Quest 3S comes in. 

This Meta headset – twice leaked by Meta itself – will be more affordable than the Quest 3 with specs and a design that blend the new model with the Quest 2; so expect a Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, dual 1,832 x 1,920 pixel per eye displays, and a bulky body at a cheaper price of hopefully $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 639 or less – though nothing has been officially confirmed.

With Meta Connect 2024 landing on September 25 and 26, we’re hoping we’ll hear something about the Meta Quest 3S there – which all signs point to. So if you’re looking to buy your first VR headset, a Quest gadget is the way to go. But even with cheap Quest 2 stock dwindling, we still think the best course of action is to wait for the Quest 3S to be announced. We shouldn’t be waiting for much longer.

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Meta Quest 3’s next update steals the Vision Pro’s best productivity feature… kinda

The Meta Quest 3 looks set to be taking yet another step towards being an Apple Vision Pro that doesn’t cost $ 3,499 / £3,499 / AU$ 5,999, by taking yet another feature from the Apple headset for itself.

This time it's a new window layout style, though it’s not really fair to say Meta is stealing this idea from Apple, merely improving its current approach. Rather than simply having three 2D apps docked side by side in fixed positions (which is what is currently possible on the Meta Quest 3 and other Meta headsets), you can now have three windows that are freely placeable anywhere in your virtual home office, and another three docked – making a total of six.

The experimental setting has been unlocked as part of the HoizonOS v67 update which is currently in beta for members of the Meta Quest Public Test Channel. Clips of people testing it out also show users switching the windows between curved and flat, as well as a feature that can lower the brightness of 2D environments – though this doesn’t work if you’re using the windows in mixed reality with passthrough.

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While this does bring the Quest 3 closer to matching the Vision Pro’s approach to 2D apps in a 3D space, it’s not quite one-to-one yet. The biggest difference is if you stray too far from a window it returns to its default docked position on the Quest 3 – whereas on Vision Pro you can leave windows in their custom floating positions indefinitely like they’re real objects.

That said, it’s also worth noting the Meta Quest 3 only costs $ 499.99 / £479.99 / AU$ 799.99, so it’s forgiven for not being a direct copy.

A closing gap

The Apple Vision Pro will always be better than the Meta Quest 3 on a technical level with its vastly better displays and chipset. But Apple hasn’t done enough to leverage its advantages in ways that matter, but that was probably always going to be the case.

The Vision Pro with its eye-tracking, laptop-level power, focus on less active XR experiences, and approach to hand-tracking offers app developers a vast array of tools to create interesting software for the device. 

However, what makes the headset unique is also its downfall – it’s too dissimilar to its rivals. If you make a VR app that takes full advantage of the Vision Pro it probably won’t be well suited to other platforms (and vice versa). So if you’re weighing up your options, making a non-Vision Pro app just makes more financial sense as it can run on more popular platforms; that is, unless Apple is offering some kind of financial incentive.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Demeo is great, but the Apple Vision Pro needed more than this (Image credit: Meta)

Some classic VR games and apps have started to get Vision Pro ports, but they are in small numbers and have trickled in months after the headset launched and the hype has died down.

Instead, most of the apps that it can run are XR versions of iPad and Mac apps which begs the question of what you really gain from buying a Vision Pro – especially as you likely already have those other gadgets, or could buy them for less than the cost of Apple’s headset.

Meta on the other hand has continued to fund exciting exclusive apps – we’re getting a bonafide Batman: Arkham game to name a recent example. At the same time, it's rolling out monthly major software updates that have only narrowed the gap between the Vision Pro and Quest 3.

We’ll have to wait and see how things continue the rest of the year and beyond, but my advice remains the same as it always has: if you want to try VR then get a Quest 3 or Quest 2 – there’s no good reason to get a Vision Pro instead.

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Rumored Apple and Meta collaboration might make the iPhone 16 a better AI phone

Apple may be augmenting its new Apple Intelligence Artificial Intelligence (AI) features with models built by Meta, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The two tech giants are supposedly discussing incorporating Meta's generative AI services into iOS 18 and the next generation of iPhone models. 

The WSJ report cites conversations Apple has begun with most of the big names in AI, including Google (Gemini), Anthropic (Claude), and OpenAI (ChatGPT). Plans for Apple Intelligence to include free ChatGPT access and GPT-4o integration were mentioned among the deluge of Apple Intelligence news at WWDC this year. That is clearly a non-exclusive arrangement if a Meta collaboration is underway. 

Apple's interest in Meta's Llama 2 and Llama 3 large language models makes sense on both ends of any deal. Meta would get to bring its AI to the massive global network of iPhone users, while Apple could cite Meta's AI features as another selling point for the iPhone. And while both Meta and Apple have some deals with OpenAI and its main funder, Microsoft, an alliance between the two might help build a competitive alternative even as OpenAI and ChatGPT may be what people first point to as generative AI. 

Mutually beneficial

For Apple as a hardware platform, it's especially good to widen the available AI model choices. That way, Apple can pitch iPhones as an AI hub, switching among models depending on what people want the AI to do. Apple explicitly pointed toward that goal at WWDC this year when announcing the deal with OpenAI to provide ChatGPT on Apple products.

“We wanted to start with the best, and we think ChatGPT from OpenAI and their new 4o model represents the best choice for our users today,” Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi explained at the event. “We think ultimately, people are going to have a preference perhaps for certain models that they want to use – maybe one that great’s for creative writing, or one they prefer for coding, and so we want to enable users ultimately to bring the model of their choice and we’re going to look forward to doing integrations with models, like Google Gemini for instance, in the future.”

Any speculation on how Apple Intelligence will change thanks to Meta is premature, but the fact it's happening at all might surprise some. Meta's advertising income took a beating after Apple changed its policies to give users more control over their data in 2021. Requiring user permission before tracking data across other apps and websites cost Meta billions of dollars and prompted Meta to release a method for advertisers to avoid Apple's service fee for boosting ad posts. The stakes of those business battles are apparently no match for Apple and Meta's anticipated AI earnings, and both now seem happy to let bygones be bygones. 

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Meta secretly delayed my most anticipated Quest 3 feature, and we finally know why

When the Meta Quest 3 was unveiled I was impressed by a lot of what it had to offer in both the virtual- and mixed-reality departments, but by far the most interesting feature was Augments – persistent MR elements that you can use to decorate your home. As we approach the one-year mark since the headset was unveiled, Meta’s CTO has finally explained why Augments haven’t launched yet.

If you've forgotten about Augments, the concept is they’re a mixture of functional and visual mixed-reality decorations. Some are just meant to look pretty or offer basic functions, like a clock, while others act as portals to your favorite games or quick access to your favorite apps. You can see a version of them in your VR Meta Home as the little pod that launches First Encounters.

When the Quest 3 was first shown off back in September 2023 at Meta Connect 2023 we saw a little of what Augments would offer, and a promise that they’d launch in the not-too-distant future. Now Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s CTO, has revealed on Instagram that back in January Meta “decided it wasn’t good enough,” and so the team decided “to go back to the drawing board.”

Bosworth explained that Augments felt too much like a toy rather than living up to what Meta felt it had promised and wanted to deliver. However, in order to improve the feature it needed to start from scratch with a “completely different technical architecture.”

As a result the feature has been delayed, and Bosworth didn’t provide any kind of timeline for when we might eventually see Augments in action.

With September’s Meta Connect 2024 fast approaching there’s a small chance we’ll see the feature again there, but I hope the next time we see Augments is when Meta is actually ready to it to the public.

A Meta Quest 3 user throwing a giant die onto a virtual medieval tabletop game board full of castles, wizards and knights

Mixed reality is good, but Augments could make it better (Image credit: Meta)

Over-promise, under-deliver 

Meta is developing a worrying habit of teasing updates and hyping up features that it then takes way longer than expected to release, or which don’t live up to expectations.

Augments are the latest example, but we’ve seen it take a year to roll out virtual legs, and oversell the metaverse way ahead of when it could feasibly work as described, while hardware-wise the Meta Quest Pro wound up being a disappointment compared with more budget-friendly offerings like the Quest 3 that launched not long after – with software like Batman: Arkham Shadow being released as a Quest 3 exclusive and skipping the Pro.

I think Meta is also doing a lot of exciting things in the XR space (a catchall for VR, AR and MR); it recently made Horizon OS available to third-party hardware makers, and I love that it gets frequent software improvements. But its errors stick out and if they persist it’ll be a challenge to trust the announcements Meta makes until the product is actually in people’s hands – either physically or virtually.

Going into Meta Connect 2024 I hope Meta takes on board the lessons it's learned over the past couple of years, and as we go beyond the press conference I’d like to see it be more open with its plans, and with obstacles it faces. Setbacks happen, but if a major feature is getting delayed maybe let us know when that decision is made, rather than leaving us in the dark for months.

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Logitech’s new MX Ink stylus might be a dream art tool for your Meta Quest headset

Logitech has recently unveiled its first mixed reality stylus, and it's exclusive to the Meta Quest series. Known as the MX Ink, it's designed to give people a more precise way to create and draw when wearing a Meta headset. While you can utilize the native controllers for content creation, they simply don’t offer the same level of accuracy as a stylus. 

One of the first things you’ll notice looking at the MX Ink is it’s quite large, resembling a marker more than a pen. It measures 6.46 x 0.72 inches (64 mm x 18.2 mm) and weighs a little over an ounce (28 grams). 

By comparison, the Apple Pencil Pro measures 6.53 x 0.35 inches (166 mm x 8.9 mm) and weighs 0.68 ounces (19.15 grams). Logitech’s MX Ink has four buttons in total: three near the front and one in the back.  

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The frontmost button lets you grab objects in the mixed reality space to drag around, while the middle option allows users to alter the pen’s pressure sensitivity. Behind that is an Options button for configuring the stylus. Lastly, the button all the way at the end gives access to the headset’s Meta menu.

Logitech claims they developed the MX Ink to be “optimized for precision” as it reportedly has “low-latency on par with Meta Quest controllers.” Thanks to the haptic feedback, the stylus offers an immersive experience meant to mimic what it is to use an actual pen on paper.

Mode of operation

The MX Ink works under two modes of operation. First is 2D Tableau, which allows Meta Quest owners to use the stylus on a flat surface when drawing. It’s unknown if the mode works on any flat surface or if you need the MX Mat accessory.

Logitech’s demo shows someone illustrating on a wooden table, but the sheet of paper is sitting on the mat – not the natural surface. The mat appears crucial, but the same video shows a woman drawing on a canvas. 

Or perhaps she’s using the other operation mode – 3D Sculpting. This allows you to freely create just by drawing in the air. The same demo displays multiple use cases, from building a house in a 3D environment to tracing the outline of what appears to be a snowboarding boot.

Other notable features include swappable tips and a seven-hour battery life. You can recharge it by plugging it in using a USB-C cable or purchasing the MX Inkwell combo to get a charging dock for the stylus. 

Supporting apps

The company states you can use the MX Ink and the paired Quest controllers simultaneously, and you won’t be forced to disconnect them. It’s important to note that the stylus is only compatible with the Meta Quest 2 and Quest 3 headsets. Logitech told RoadtoVR it won’t work on the Quest Pro, and we've reached out to the company for comment, as they didn’t explain why that support is missing.

Additionally, the pen doesn’t work across all of the Quest library; just a handful of art apps. This includes Gravity Sketch, ShapesXR, and Arkio for now, but it’s possible we could see more added to the list. Logitech is offering third-party developers the opportunity to integrate MX Ink into their apps by applying for a developer kit. 

The MX Ink launches in late September 2024 for $ 129.99 or $ 169.99 for the Inkwell combo. You can sign up to receive notifications letting you know when it’s available for purchase.

In the meantime, check out TechRadar's list of the best VR headsets for 2024.

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I tried VR’s Shadow of the Colossus and cleaned Doc Brown’s DeLorean – my favorite Meta Quest 3 games and apps for June 2024

Are you ready to stare down skyscraper-size Behemoths, box your way through Shardfall’s terrors, and power wash a time-traveling DeLorean?

This past month that’s what I’ve been up to thanks to the help of my Meta Quest 3 (and the new Quell immersive fitness system), and I’m here to break down my experience playing them all. Slight spoiler, this month’s VR games and apps were all superb – I highly recommend you pick up at least one of these as soon as you can.

So let’s get into what I thought of Behemoth, Power Wash Simulator and its Back to the Future DLC, and the new Quell game Shardfall. But first, something a little different.

Batman: Arkham Shadow

Usually, I reserve this column for games and apps I’ve played at some point in the past few weeks. But after that explosive Summer Games Fest trailer, we need to talk about Arkham Shadow – the VR Batman game coming exclusively to Meta Quest 3. 

Ahead of the trailer reveal I had the pleasure of chatting with Ryan Payton – the Studio Director of Camouflaj (the team behind the game) – to find answers to my most burning questions.

Payton revealed that the main villain isn’t Ratcatcher like we expected – instead, he’s merely a follower of the actual big bad, the Rat King. He described the gameplay to me in great detail, calling Arkham Shadow a VR Translation of everything that made Arkham Asylum the smash hit it was – from the exploration to the story and characters to the dynamic combat. Payton also outlined why this game had to be a Meta Quest 3-exclusive.

You can read my full chat with Ryan Payton on Arkham Shadow for a more in-depth look at these topics, but just know that I’m even more hyped for this game than I was already. Its ‘Holiday 2024’ release date can’t come soon enough.

Behemoth

This past month I was lucky enough to try an early demo of Behemoth. The roughly 15-minute slice of the game introduced me to some of the enemies, weapons, puzzles, and monstrosities the game has in store for players.

My victory over the demo’s Behemoth was slightly lessened when I was told the boss was nerfed a little for the experience. However, the team tried to boost my spirits by explaining that’s because players would usually face it after a few hours rather than 10 minutes – so they’d be prepared for a tougher fight. I guess I’ll just have to try the full game so I can prove myself in a full-power rematch – and I can’t wait.

You can think of it as a virtual reality version of Shadow of the Colossus (to be a little reductive). You’re on a quest to hunt and kill massive behemoths that roam the lands, with the boss fights feeling more like action-based puzzles than a typical brawl.

That’s not to say you won’t get your fill of Dark Ages-style duels. As you adventure you’ll face off against many human-sized enemies looking to finish you off before you even have a chance to spy one of the beasts you’re searching for.

Yes, they’re a lot less imposing, but fighting these smaller foes is still challenging and exhilarating thanks to Behemoth’s sandbox approach to combat. You’re given access to a good variety of weapons to whirl around, as well as techniques to string together, like blocking, parrying, and grapple-hook acrobatics, to find interesting ways of decimating your foes.

Alternatively, you can rage out, dealing massively powerful hits for a limited time, and just blow your enemies away.

A massive Behemoth standing on an icy lake behind some warriors with swords

(Image credit: Skydance Interactive)

Speaking to Shawn Kittelsen, Vice President of Creative at Skydance Interactive for Behemoth, after the demo, he explained that after working on The Walking Dead Saints & Sinners the team wanted to basically make the complete opposite of that game.

“The Walking Dead Saints & Sinners has all these dark intimate spaces, and you never know if a Walker is waiting around the corner to grab you. We thought, what if we take our arc of motion physics that players love, our experience designing different weapons and enemy varieties, and apply that to something completely different – an epic fantasy game with wide open arenas.”

When the team considered what enemies players would find in these large spaces the answer was clear, Behemoths. From here the team crafted these antagonistic puzzles for players to best – giving them a few nasty tricks like player responsiveness. This means that rather than simply cycling through attacks these monsters will react to your actions.

This is something I noticed in my demo as my decision to run under the monster to dodge the giant ball and chain it wielded merely resulted in it choosing to kick me instead.

If you’re interested in trying Behemoth when it launches, it’ll be coming to Meta Quest 3, Oculus Quest 2, PSVR 2 and PCVR. 

When discussing the power difference between these hardware systems, Kittelsen assured me that while the PS5 and PC-powered experiences will offer better visuals (and a few extra immersion features like PSVR2’s headset rumble) the Quest 2 experience will feel the same in terms of gameplay and with smooth framerate. He added, “It was important that we didn’t leave Quest 2 players behind.”

PowerWash Simulator & Back to the Future DLC

After my experience with Lawn Mowing Simulator, I was a little reluctant to try out another chore sim – my girlfriend even laughed at me when she heard I’d be spending my time doing virtual busywork for a second month in a row. But PowerWash Simulator manages to deliver everything I expected from Lawn Mowing Simulator and more. It’s a cathartic cleaning experience that I’ve been oddly addicted to since downloading it a couple of weeks ago.

Yes, the main game is very simple. With enough patience, and some help from the in-game checklist and dirt viewer, you can wave your cleaning wand over every surface and get the van/house/playground dinosaur looking as good as new with no difficulty. But there’s something meditative about meticulously scrambling over surfaces looking for the last specs of dirt you need to wipe off.

For those of you after more of a challenge, some modes task you with recleaning every level under a time restraint and water restriction, respectively. I’ve given these modes a whirl but feel my cleaning prowess is not yet up to snuff – the water trials are particularly challenging, requiring a level of cleaning precision I currently lack.

To continue my training, PowerWash Simulator offers additional bonus levels. Some are included in the base game, while some licensed locations are available via paid DLC – like the recently released Back to the Future pack.

While it’s not quite the immersive Back To The Future experience fans of the series might have hoped for, if you enjoy what PowerWash Simulator has to offer then these themed levels are a delight. I hope we’ll see more.

Despite my reaction being the reverse of how I felt about Lawn Mowing Simulator, I’ll admit that this monotonous chore sim won’t be for everyone. Trying to compare it to an action-packed hit like Behemoth it seems almost a little boring.

But at the same time, I’ve found PowerWash Simulator to be deceptively moreish. Whenever I try to put it down I want to slip my Meta Quest 3 back on and get straight back to cleaning.

Quell & Shardfall

Okay, so Quell isn’t a Meta Quest 3 game. It’s not even a VR game. But I needed to talk about it here as I feel it’s a great alternative to the VR fitness apps I’ve been talking about since I did my month-long VR workout challenge back in April.

This fitness-first gaming platform offers a lot of what I’ve fallen in love with from VR apps like Supernatural. Rather than working out just for the sake of it (something that can be a struggle for motivation), there’s a gamified element. 

In Quell’s case, that’s the enemies you face off against in its first game Shardfall – a high-fantasy adventure. It’s not just an upper-body workout. You also have to jog, sprint, squat and jump your way past obstacles that occupy the space between fights. Because this adventure isn’t in VR, the team’s been able to incorporate these elements without as much risk of the player injuring themselves, or feeling nauseous.

It’s also added resistance bands – with three difficulty levels – which make punching more challenging. When I first tried Quell I was surprised how much more effort I was putting into my shadow boxing.

For a more in-depth look at this new immersive fitness experience, I’d recommend checking out my full feature about my experience with Quell. But TL;DR I’ve really enjoyed using it, even though I had the occasional frustrating issue with the tracker not syncing perfectly with my movements.

If you’ve struggled to get into VR fitness, or more traditional workouts then Quell could be what you’re after. But do think if Quell is definitely for you before you buy it as it is a little pricey at $ 339 / £299 (it’s, unfortunately, not available in Australia), with a subscription on top that’s $ 9.99 / £9.90 per month or $ 79.90 / £79.90 for a year. When it comes to dedicated fitness equipment this isn’t an unreasonable amount, though. 

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Meta can’t stop leaking its next VR headset, as it accidentally shows off the Quest 3S

Meta has to know what it’s doing, because for the second time in as many weeks it has leaked the Meta Quest 3S – this time its next VR headset made a cameo in the background of a video filmed by its CTO.

In a video highlighting the new mixed-reality upgrades arriving as part of Horizon OS update v66 which Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth posted on Threads, we see a view of someone’s home office with some kind of Meta Quest headset on a desk in the background.

The thing is, this Quest device doesn’t appear to be anything we recognise. It looks too bulky to be a Meta Quest 3, while it has cameras in the wrong places and it isn't round enough to be a Quest 2. The white plastic cladding also confirms it’s not an original Quest or Quest Pro.

Instead, it looks nearly identical to the leaked Quest 3S design. Luna – the leaker sharing the bulk of the Quest 3S info – took to Twitter to point out this accidental teaser, which Bosworth then replied to, saying “love that higher quality video over on Threads…”

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This is far from a confirmation, but combined with the Quest 3S appearing accidentally on some Meta Quest Store pages it seems very likely that the so-called cheaper Quest 3 model is coming soon; most likely at Meta Connect 2024 which Meta revealed is taking place on September 25 and 26.

That said, with all these leaks Meta may make an earlier official teaser ahead of its wider reveal later this year to try and regain some control over the situation.

It’s time to eat my hat 

I was convinced the Meta Quest 3S wouldn’t return to the Oculus Quest 2’s bulky design when I first saw the leaks. I fully expected Meta to prioritize comfort as this was a major critique in Vision Pro reviews – Meta’s most high profile rival.

Instead I was prepared to see it shave off the price by using lower quality displays, less RAM, cheaper materials, or perhaps using a less impressive mixed-reality camera system. Heck, with all the hand-tracking updates we've seen, I wouldn’t have been surpised if the controllers had been let go – even if that wouldn’t be a great idea overall.

But with this latest leak I have to accept that I was wrong. The Quest 3S does look to be a Quest 3 in the Quest 2’s bulky body. The only remaining question is how much will it cost?

Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset under a green light

Welcome back Quest 2 design, we hardly missed you (Image credit: Shutterstock / Boumen Japet)

This is where I’m a little worried. If the Quest 3S isn’t the technical downgrade I was anticipating, can a price drop to the Quest 2’s launch price of $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 be justified? I mean, Meta can do whatever it wants, but pricing the 3S will be a challenge.

If it goes too low – which $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 feels like it might be – can we justify spending $ 499 / £479 / AU$ 799 on the full-on Meta Quest 3? If Meta instead aims higher, maybe $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 599, then this won’t feel like the budget Quest 2 replacement leaks have teased the device to be – and begs the question if it’s not just worth spending that bit extra to get the full-on Quest 3.

At least even if Meta does go for the cheaper end of the scale it won’t anywhere close to as big a burn to Meta Quest 3 customers as when it teased the Quest 3 as it’s “most powerful headset yet” less than six months after it launched the Quest Pro – with it then selling the Quest 3 for only a third of the Pro’s original price.

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Meta can’t stop making the Meta Quest 3’s mixed reality better with updates

June is here, and like clockwork the latest update for your Meta Quest 3 headset is ready to roll out. 

The standout upgrade for v66 is to the VR headset’s mixed reality (again) – after it was the main focus of Horizon OS v64, and got some subtle tweaks in v65 too.

We aren’t complaining though, as this improvement looks set to make the image quality even better, with reduced image distortion in general and a reduction to the warping effect that can appear around moving objects. The upshot is that you should notice that it’s easier to interact with real-world objects while in mixed reality, and the overlay that displays your virtual hands should better align with where your actual hands appear to be.

If you want to see a side-by-side, Meta has handily released a video showcasing the improvements to mixed reality.

If you’re using your hands instead of controllers, Meta is also adding new wrist buttons.

Should you choose to enable this option in the experimental settings menu, you’ll be able to tap on your right or left wrist to use the Meta or Menu buttons respectively.

According to Meta, wrist buttons will make it a lot easier to open a menu from within a game or app – either the in-game pause screen, or the system-level menu should you want to change to a different experience, take a screenshot or adjust your headset’s settings. We’ll have to try them out for ourselves, but they certainly sound like an improvement, and a similar feature could bring even more button controls to the hand-tracking experience.

A gif showing a person pinching their fingers to open the Quest menu

You’ll no longer need to pinch to open menus (Image credit: Meta)

Lastly Meta is making it easier to enjoy background audio – so if you start audio or a video in the Browser, it’ll keep playing when you minimize the app – as well as a few changes to Parental Supervision features. Namely, from June 27, children aged 10 to 12 who are supervised by the same parent account will automatically be able to see each other in the Family Center.

As Meta warns however its update is rolling out gradually, and because this month’s passthrough change is so big it’s saying it will be sending out updates even more slowly than usual – and what’s more, some people who update to v66 might not get all the improvements right away.

So if you don’t see the option to update right away, or any passthrough improvements once you've installed v66 on your Meta Quest 3, don’t fret. You will get the upgrade eventually.

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Netflix has a plan to fix its Meta Quest 3 app… abandon it and use the browser

It’s no secret that the Netflix app on the Meta Quest 3 is absolute trash. It hardly works with low-res videos and has poor optimization; there’s no reason to install it even if you have an active Netflix subscription. But Meta and Netflix have just announced a plan to change the Netflix VR experience – abandon the app and try a new approach.

That is to say that “in the coming days” – per the Quest Blog, where it also announced its Meta Connect 2024 dates – you’ll be able to launch Netflix in the Quest 3 web browser to enjoy shows and films “in high resolution.” Presumably, this means at least full HD, but we won’t count our chickens until they hatch, and we’ve found out from trying the service how crisp the images are.

The post says you’ll be able to enjoy the show on a flat 2D screen or in a theater view that includes a curved screen – much like using other browser-based VR experiences.

A much needed video upgrade 

I never really thought about VR video streaming on Quest until the Apple Vision Pro was released and proved how bad a job the Horizon OS was doing in this department.

The Disney app running on the Apple Vision Pro

Apple’s Vision Pro is much better for VR video (Image credit: Apple)

The Quest 3 has few of the best streaming services as dedicated apps, and those it does have – like Netflix – aren’t worth installing. The Vision Pro, on the other hand, is packed with great video streaming services, including a Disney Plus app that streams 3D videos directly to the headset.

This Netflix update isn’t quite at the same level, but it is a solid start and is hopefully a sign future updates for other video platforms are coming soon. I had hoped such an update would arrive in preparation for an LG OLED-equipped Meta Quest Pro 2; however, while the software might still arrive, LG's recent comments have me worried its Meta Quest Pro 2 collaboration might not be going ahead.

We'll have to wait and see what happens on the hardware front, but for now we can just enjoy that the Quest 3 finally has a worthwhile Netflix experience.

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The Meta Quest 3S reveal inches closer as Meta sets a date for Meta Connect 2024

Meta has set a date for Meta Connect 2024 – its annual press conference where the company showcases the technology its Reality Labs division has been working on – and it might be where we finally find out what the leaked Meta Quest 3S VR headset is all about.

Meta Connect is where both the Meta Quest 3 and Meta Quest Pro were unveiled, and Meta supports the idea that we might see new Quest hardware. The event –which is happening from September 25 to 26 – will be where it provides updates on its “work across AI plus a look at what’s next for Quest.”

Given that Meta’s own store has leaked the Quest 3S it’s all but certain it’ll be shown off at Meta’s next Connect – though we’ll have to tune in to know for sure.

Alongside the Quest 3S we expect Meta will also showcase new Meta AI features for its Ray-Ban smart glasses, and it may even showcase AI features coming to its VR headsets. If we’re lucky, Meta might also give us a teaser for the AR glasses it’s working on.

Where is the Quest Gaming Showcase? 

We had originally predicted that Meta would instead reveal the Quest 3S as part of its Quest Gaming Showcase. However, it has yet to announce if or when this year’s iteration will take place. Given that it has jumped straight to announcing Connect in September, we’re feeling a lot less confident that the Gaming Showcase will happen this year, at least in the form we're used to.

The Summer Fest 2024 poster announcing updates for Gorilla Tag, Population One, and YouTube VR among others

(Image credit: Meta)

Instead, the annual gaming event appears to have morphed into a three-month-long Summer Fest 2024, with announcements being spread out across various blog posts and Summer Games Fest showcases.

As part of its Summer Fest, Meta has announced a Summer Sale, so you can pick up the best VR games and apps for cheap. And with major updates coming to titles such as a Phoenix Royale mode for Population: One, there will be free weekends so you can enjoy various VR games without spending a dime.

At the time of writing, the schedule is:

  • Breachers & Racket Club – July 12, 3:00 pm to July 15, 1:00 am
  • Dungeons Of Eternity & Real VR Fishing – July 19, 3:00 pm to July 22, 1:00 am 
  • Premium Bowling & Guardians Frontline – July 26, 3:00 pm to July 29, 1:00 am
  • Golf 5 & iB Cricket – August 2, 3:00 pm to August 5, 1:00 am
  • Smash Drums & IRONSTRIKE – August 9, 3:00 pm to August 12, 1:00 am

All of the times will be for your local region – so if you’re in the UK the start time is 3pm BST, in New York it’ll be 3pm ET. 

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