Quest 3 Hands On

This video gives a pretty good perspective of what gaming-oriented VR enthusiasts think of Meta's Quest 3 headset. Reading the coverage of their event, it seems like Zuck and company are embracing the device as more of a game console than a metaverse client.

This seems smart, because more people want immersive VR games than want a metaverse client.

But it's really interesting to consider the Quest 3 rollout with knowledge of how Apple carefully framed the Vision Pro as being built for computing, going well out of their way to ever use the phrase "virtual reality" and with gaming as a total after thought. In fact, visionOS doesn't allow for immersive roomscale apps, which dramatically decreases the number of games that could be ported to it.

What consumers want from VR, so far: games.

What Meta is giving them: games (with the hope that they will convert people into social metaverse experiences).

What Apple is giving them: a computing platform (with an express deemphasis on gaming, to the point of kneecapping its capabilities).

Watching this play out will be a great test of Apple's ability to "skate where the puck is going". I suspect later revisions will allow for better game capabilities but (like the rest of their platforms) never enough to excite gamers. Meta, meanwhile, happily lets gamers use their sold-at-a-loss headset as a wireless or wired dumb terminal connected to a more powerful gaming PC.

My 2¢:

  • Meta will indeed capture a lot of market share, but (similar to the Wii) most devices will play a couple games and then collect dust. And the people who buy Quest units won't be the same people who want the experiences Meta really wants to offer. The most likely case seems to be that they'll start to look more and more like a traditional game console platform holder like Sony or Microsoft. And, unlike their current business, that's at least an honest one that can turn a tidy profit without selling out their customers
  • Apple Vision Pro will sell in such low volumes for the first several years that we'll keep hearing premature obituaries from the media until 7 or 8 years from now Apple is able to break through with a mainstream computing platform by sheer force of will

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