“Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home,” this is what Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook to announce an acquisition deal of the Oculus Rift (now known as Meta quest pro) in 2014.
Facebook acquired this device for $2 billion and worked towards improving it and integrating it into the company’s ecosystem. Fast forward to 25 October 2022, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) ships Meta Quest Pro which enables users to immerse themselves in the metaverse under construction.
Reviewers of the device are singing praises about the device. It’s considered to be a device that marks a shift away from more traditional virtual reality into one that blends VR and augmented reality. Quest Pro goes beyond just putting you in a fully enclosed virtual world and instead brings the real world around you into your virtual reality experience.“Imagine working at your virtual desk with multiple screens, while seeing your real desk so clearly that you can pick up a pen and write notes without taking your headset off,” Zuckerberg said this to illustrate the uniqueness of this device.
In terms of additional hardware, the Quest Pro also features 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. It boasts 10 virtual reality and mixed reality sensors located throughout the device, and the headset features spatial audio.
It’s now clear to see why Zuckerberg believed, before buying Oculus, that headsets that provide “immersive 3-D experiences”—movies and television, naturally, but also games, lectures, and business meetings would form part of an evolution beyond smartphones.
This device means a lot for Meta, a company that has mainly generated revenue from advertising on its platforms. This device marks an important shift towards generating revenue from hardware sales in the same ways as Apple and Microsoft. This also means Meta will have full access and power over advertising controls that were taken away by Apple on their devices. Meta can finally say they have a software and hardware business. Previous hardware attempts by Facebook (now Meta) were not that impactful compared to the envisaged impact by the latest device. The device could not have come at a better time for Meta as society is shifting away from social media towards messaging platforms (a story for another day). Financial results by Meta show that there’s a serious challenge with major revenue sources for Meta.
When the Meta Quest Pro takes off, it will be good for the company’s bottom-line.
For now, however Meta is far from achieving its metaverse dream, at the same time the Meta Quest Pro is enabling us to see what that future would look and feel like.
There’s therefore no better time to understand how these devices function in order to build tools for them. As the device was shipped on the 25th of October 2022 in the US at approximately $1500 (plus minus R25 000) young people in South Africa and parts of the continent will miss out on understanding it.
Naturally, they will have to play catch up when the device finally reaches the country. Chances are that will happen in 5 to 10 years. Understanding how crucial this technology is in playing a role in understanding the metaverse should inspire an effort to get some of these devices in South Africa now to start preparing young people in schools for the metaverse.
Meta as an entity that is taking a lead in the metaverse space, using a device they are producing is crucial at this stage. The device will continue to improve over time however its earlier versions will assist young people in learning whatever is necessary to play a role in the field that will emerge from the metaverse.
Here’s a challenge for anyone who understands the value and impact of this device:
Meta Quest Pro Challenge
Find a way to get this device for young people who may miss out on understanding this piece of technology at an early stage.