Pushing away from Facebook, Meta expanded its business on its new VR headset

For years, Mark Zuckerberg has championed MetaVas’s lofty vision of virtual reality-based services transforming people’s lives, from the school environment to their family time.

On Tuesday, Meta’s CEO pitched Corporate America as one of the early adopters of this vision through the company’s new — and expensive — VR headset, the Quest Pro.

“As physical work continues to increase, we want everyone to feel present, even if they’re not physically present,” Zuckerberg said at the company’s annual developer conference, MetaConnect. “For virtual reality to reach its full potential, we need to get to the point where the 200 million people who buy a new PC for work every year can do part or all of their work better.”

To that end, Meta also announced that the Meta Quest Pro headset will offer new integration with Microsoft products that are ubiquitous in the work world. The Microsoft Teams video conferencing program is aimed at teams in Meta Horizon Workroom, the company’s virtual reality space, the company announced, and Microsoft 365 programs will also be available.

“We’re clearly going through a once-in-a-lifetime shift in the way we work,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who attended the conference, and every organization today is looking for new ways to reconnect and revitalize. At home, in the office and in their workforce. That’s why we’re bringing Microsoft Teams’ immersive meeting experience to Meta Quest.

Still, Meta faces serious challenges in executing his vision. While it’s currently the clear leader in the virtual reality headset market, claiming 90 percent of the market for its Quest 2 headset, the company may face competition from companies like Apple and TikTok parent ByteDance, which is expected to release its own VR headset soon.

And the biggest obstacle to Meta’s plans doesn’t have an easy solution: The technology needed to achieve some of Meta’s biggest ambitions for its virtual reality devices is still years away from its introduction. Although the Meta headset continues to elbow out its competitors, there’s no guarantee most people will don the headset and spend their lives in a virtual world.

There are clear challenges ahead. Look, competition is going to increase,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives. Meta observers have good reason to be concerned about the strategy. “They’re betting on the future of the metaverse,” he said. But that bet is “risky … especially in this market.”

For now, Meta is targeting the Quest Pro with its $1,500 price tag at businesses, creators, and virtual reality enthusiasts alike, with several improvements over its previous headset, featuring a slimmer design, brighter visuals, and improved mixing capabilities. The physical world versus the virtual.

In Zuckerberg’s vision of the future of work, employees move seamlessly from their own digital workplaces to virtual offices.

What if you could collaborate with your co-workers as if you were there, even if you were far apart? Zuckerberg asked. “What if you overlay your work and the people you interact with on top of the physical world? This tool will help you be more productive and more productive.

To make this a reality, Zuckerberg says the headsets need to be more advanced. For a price tag that’s five times the cost of Meta’s Quest 2 headset, the Meta Quest Pro has the ability to track wearers’ facial expressions and mirror those in their avatars. Such technology opens up the ability for users in different locations to see how others are reacting in real time, the company said.

Meta says its new headsets are more capable of integrating the real physical world with virtual reality spaces. Among the company’s improvements to the Pro device is a “high-quality, full-color augmented reality experience” so users can see the outside world alongside their digital experiences.

While Meta positions Meta Quest Pro as a worthwhile investment for corporate workers, it has to compete with other companies that have a track record of serving businesses and other institutions. Large organizations often turn to VR-powered software to train their employees for situations that are difficult to replicate in real life, such as complex surgeries for medical students or active shooter training for retail workers.

More Insights and Strategy analyst Anshel Saag said virtual reality teams may be willing to pay top dollar for high-end virtual reality equipment, but Meta expects competition from companies — such as Apple, China’s Pico ByteDance and Taiwan-based Hi Tech Computer Corp. — that have served such customers for years. To rise above the fray, Meta will need to offer strategic software capabilities on its devices, Sagg says.

“It’s all in Microsoft because a lot of their competitors don’t really have that,” Saag said. They were very clear that they had many partners in this area of ​​productivity.

Meta has got a lot riding on the idea that in the future people will want to gather with colleagues or loved ones in the digital world. Last year, Reality Labs, the division that works on VR-powered hardware including the Quest 2 and its smart glasses, Ray-Ban Stories, posted a loss of nearly $10.2 billion, regulatory filings show.

Meta’s big-time VR investment comes at a particularly vulnerable time for the company, as many advertisers cut spending in an uncertain economic environment. In July, the company reported its first quarterly revenue decline in a decade. This month, Meta imposed a hiring freeze, halting new offers to job candidates, hiring and internal transfers, according to a memo seen by The Washington Post.

But he may have few choices other than building Metavas. The company is facing more competition for ad dollars and users from new rivals like TikTok and Snapchat. And it’s the targeted advertising methods that have turned Meta into an economic behemoth when Apple introduced new privacy restrictions last year that forced app makers to openly ask whether they could track their activity on the Internet — a demand many rejected.

As Meta sets out to create the next communication platform, it will move away from relying on mobile phone platforms to get its services into the hands of consumers. But it won’t be easy, Sag said. For one, Meta needs to invest in building software offerings that make it tempting to buy a $1,500 headset.

“The biggest and the first [challenge] It’s a price, and it will be met immediately after that,” he said. “They have a long road map ahead.”

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