In this undated image courtesy of Meta Connect, a person experiences the new Meta Quest Pro VR headset
San Francisco (AFP) - A year after it rebranded itself in the name of building a metaverse, Meta on Tuesday unveiled a new version of its virtual reality headset tailored for working professionals.
The $1,500 Meta Quest Pro features a number of new features that are meant to improve users’ perception of truly being in the presence of other people.
The headset makes it possible to view not only virtual worlds but also the real environment of the user, thanks to high-resolution outward-facing cameras.
“The moment that they begin to break into a smile or when they raise their eyebrow… your avatar should be able to express all of that and more,” Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg said at Meta Connect, the company’s giant’s annual conference focused on virtual reality.
Customers can begin ordering the Quest Pro starting Tuesday, and the device will ship at the end of the month.
Meta said it is partnering with Microsoft and others to tune popular business and productivity software to virtual worlds using Quest Pro.
Capabilities being worked on include using Quest Pro during virtual meetings on the Microsoft Teams platform, according to the two companies.
“At Microsoft, we’re incredibly excited about the metaverse and how digital and physical worlds are coming together,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during the presentation.
Facebook renamed itself Meta in October 2021 to signal a pivot to building its vision for an interactive virtual and augmented reality world that it sees as the future.
The move came as the company was facing a backlash after a whistleblower leaked documents suggesting the social media giant put profits over safety.
Meta is undergoing a difficult period financially due to dropping advertising revenues and fierce competition from other platforms such as TikTok, whose popularity has exploded.
About a third of the apps in the Quest app store brought in millions of dollars in revenue since launching there, according to Meta chief technology officer Andrew “Boz” Bosworth.
Some $1.5 billion has been spent overall on games and apps in the Quest store, and titles on the way to its virtual shelves include an “Iron Man” game set for release in November by Marvel Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment, according to Meta executives.