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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You can now play a retro 90s game while your new Microsoft Surface device sets up

Microsoft has recently introduced a bunch of major updates to Windows 11, and now, it’s even updated how you get the updates. If you happen to be getting one of the new Microsoft Surface laptops or tablets anytime soon, you’re in for a treat. 

When you first open up your sparkling new device, you’ll inevitably have to sit through a setup and update process for a little while before you can dive in. Now, Microsoft has made the installation process less lonely by being able to play a game while you wait. 

You can also see our impression of Microsoft's Surface models.

This development was first spotted by Tom Warren of the Verge when he opened and started up the Surface Laptop Studio 2, he was able to play a modernized version of SkiFree, originally an online game created by Microsoft programmer Chris Pirih and released in 1991. 

Where else can you find the game?

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has mined SkiFree for nostalgic mini-game distractions – it’s actually been something of an easter egg you could stumble upon in Microsoft’s Edge browser since 2020. You can still access the game by typing in edge://surf in your Edge browser.

If you have pending Windows updates that are available or are restoring settings from a previous Windows Backup, it might be possible to play the game. It’s not totally clear if this is only available during the setup process of new Surface devices or if you can also play the game while updating any existing device with Windows 11. The Verge asked for more information on the topic from Microsoft but the company has yet to respond. 

Either way, it’s still a fun tidbit to pass the time and it’s the latest improvement Microsoft has made to make the dreaded Windows update process a little less dull. I think it shows that Microsoft developers do pay attention at more precise levels than people realize to improve the overall user experience. The current setup process is already a big step up even from recent Windows versions, which would have Cortana talking you through the process extensively – something some users found unhelpful or annoying.

Microsoft Surface X Liberty London collaboration, showing Surface Pro 9 tablet with a blue floral print design.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Where Microsoft may have found inspiration

BetaNews goes as far as to speculate that Microsoft actually nabbed the idea from a third-party Windows enthusiast developer, concept designer 'AR 4789', who developed his own version of Windows with additional features named 'Windows Utopia'. Windows Utopia also lets you play games, as well as browse the web, while you install the custom operating system. 

This news has seemingly been received quite positively by Windows fans so far, and Microsoft could use the goodwill as it rolls out its very novel AI assistant, Windows Copilot, which has been received with a less enthusiastic response. The appearance of the surfing minigame does show that Microsoft is still very detail-oriented when it comes to the user experience, so I hope that it continues to be that way when it comes to delivering huge new features just as it does with the smaller ones.

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YouTube sets out its plans for 2022 – but is it too late for content creators?

YouTube has set out its plans to try and help its creators more, such as being able to shop within a YouTube Shorts video, better monetization options for channels, and better insights into how their videos are performing.

The content-creation company has had its fair share of controversy over the years, most recently in its decision to change how dislikes on videos are displayed. But with TikTok fast becoming a social media network focused on video, Google-owned YouTube is trying to bring out some features that can better help its creators, not only to earn a living, but also to prevent them from leaving for TikTok, Vimeo or another rival video platform.

Back in 2003, you would find it a challenge to discover a site that would only show free content, and the thought of being able to make money from your videos would be a dream.

But YouTube has grown into a place where you can freely upload a video and, if the views are there, build up a following and make some money. But its past mistakes have made its users wonder if these features are simply covering up the cracks of a larger issue.


Analysis: Reversing the polarity

In its blog, the company reveals that it is aware that it needs to offer features to rival TikTok via its YouTube Shorts feature. Going live with another content creator for joint videos is on the horizon, alongside gifted memberships, and guidelines for the live chat are on the way.

However, the point comes back to how creators have been treated across the years. A recent example was a YouTuber called TotallyNotMark, who delves into the history of Japanese Anime, manly Dragon Ball. He had most of his videos removed in December 2021 with no explanation, which wiped out his income overnight.

This was due to TOEI Animation, the owners of Dragon Ball, claiming copyright infringements on most of Mark's videos, with no opportunity for the YouTuber to challenge these before they were taken down.

However, Mark was able to resolve this after five weeks, and his videos are back up.

While he was able to get the copyright claims resolved, he spoke in detail about how the appeals process by YouTube was unhelpful, slow, and non-transparent, especially in regards to why the videos were removed in the first place. And this has been a problem for years, where some content creators have left the platform.

We reached out to YouTube about this and TotallyNotMark's issues, and Jack Malon, a YouTube spokesperson, told us that “YouTube doesn't mediate copyright disputes—it is between the parties involved. We give copyright holders tools to make Content ID claims covering their copyrighted content and uploaders tools to dispute claims they believe are made in error,” Malon explained. “We also take the abuse of our tools seriously, and when we find instances of misuse, we take appropriate action in accordance with our policies.”

While it's encouraging to see the company announce more features to better support its creators, there was no mention of any improvements to the appeals process in the blog post. Perhaps eventually, YouTube will be able to look at how the content creators can appeal against copyright strikes, and save them the anxiety that it could cause them, as it did to Mark.

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