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Meta unveils new AR/VR headseat, smart glasses

At the Meta Connect 2023 event, Meta (META) announced its new AR/VR headset, the Meta Quest 3 for $499, along with its Ray-Ban smart glasses.

Yahoo Finance Tech Editor Dan Howley breaks down the features and price point of the new mixed reality headset, as well as how Meta is competing with other companies, such as Apple (AAPL) and Sony (SONY) in the gaming space.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript

DAN HOWLEY: The technology behind this is very impressive, especially for the price point that they're asking for. For $499, you get a headset that can do virtual reality as well as augmented reality, this kind of mixed reality as it's called, where, you know, in one demo, I was playing a "Ghostbusters" game. And the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man ripped the roof off the room I was in. And it looked as though the roof was gone. And I was looking into this like nether realm where the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hangs out.


Another, there was a alien spaceship that like crashed landed in this faux living room that Meta had set up. And then these little aliens started bursting through the wall. And you would shoot at them. And as you shot the wall, pieces of it would disappear and reveal another world behind it.

So, you know, they're clearly trying to get this idea of mixed reality to snowball and kind of take off. I think the issue that they're potentially going to run into is the price point of $499 is right next to what you have for a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X. And if I'm going to-- if I'm a gamer, which I am, and I'm going to look at these three products at the same price tag, well, I'm going to go for the PlayStation or Xbox, which has, you know, these marquee titles that I can play on my 65-inch OLED TV. Not to brag, but it's a pretty damn cool TV.

But, you know, the Meta Quest 3 does have a lot going for it. It's got improved-- got graphics compared to the Quest 2. There was a demo that I saw where it showed kind of a view of how things looked on the Quest 2 and then on the Quest 3. And text was a lot clearer. There was more kind of flourish to textures on different objects.

So they're doing a great job there. They're also trying to incorporate more multiplayer capabilities, which is something that I think, you know, any good kind of gaming console needs if it's going to get that kind of critical mass. There was a report from The Verge that they had sold year to date when they launched the-- I believe the Quest 2 in 2020, they had sold 20 million units.

Well, Sony announced relatively recently that they had sold 40 million units. And they also launched in 2020. So, you know, it's going up against these big names in the gaming space. And that's going to be difficult to overcome for a company like Meta, where they're trying to get this new technology adopted, basically.

JULIE HYMAN: Right, I mean-- and that's not even to mention-- we were showing some of the Apple products on the screen. Apple also, you know, and-- on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of the price point there. On the other-- and on the other end, you got Snap that is now-- it sounds like closing down its efforts to develop something entirely.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, so, you know, the-- this is-- the space is still very early, right? There's the idea of, you know, you have this-- I think it's called the trough of disillusionment. And you get super excited about a product, shoots up. And then-- well, the reality sets in of they still have to develop a lot of it. And it kind of falls down into that trough. And eventually, it gets back up there as years go by and things are developed properly. So I think that's where we are with these kinds of technologies. But Meta clearly putting a lot into this.

And, you know, obviously, the Apple side of things, they've got to try the Vision Pro. And that was incredible as well. I think the-- graphically, the Vision Pro is ahead of the Quest 3. It's also $3,500. So the average person isn't going to be able to go out and buy that. You know, if I'm going to buy anything for $3,500, it's going to be a really good gaming PC. Both of these companies are also trying to target these towards the enterprise, not just consumers.

So, you know, they want you to be able to go ahead and have virtual meetings in these. I don't know how much that's going to take off. You know, I do a lot of meetings with my camera off. So I don't know if I want to wear a headset and have people, you know, look at an avatar of me even. But, you know as I said, this is a positive step forward for Meta in terms of the technology. It just needs now to have people want to adopt it more regularly and across the board.

JULIE HYMAN: Maybe this will solve our meeting room problem at the office, Dan. Whenever there's critical mass in the office, there are lots of people sitting by themselves in meeting rooms on virtual meetings. Maybe they can just sit on their desks in headsets. There. Solved it. Dan Howley, thank you very much. Appreciate it.