There’s some big news from Meta today. First, Meta is set to release its newest, mysterious, high-end virtual reality headset sometime this year. The company has been referring to the forthcoming VR hardware under the codename “Project Cambria,” but the actual headset will probably be called the “Meta Quest Pro,” according to a report from Bloomberg. Second, you won’t need a Facebook account to use it once its available, according to a statement from the company. That’s a major relief for Oculus true believers, who bought into VR before Facebook even rebranded itself and were then forced to migrate from Oculus to Facebook accounts in 2020, around the same time as the Quest 2 launch, to many headaches.
The Quest Pro name first came to light inside the code of Meta’s iPhone app for managing connected VR headsets, spotted by a developer named Steve Moser—who then shared his finding with Bloomberg. “Pair Meta Quest Pro right controller,” is the code’s specific text.
The company formerly known as Facebook has been trying its hardest to highlight its foray into virtual reality. While it’s been investing in new VR headsets, Meta has simultaneously been abandoning other hardware products, like its now-dead smartwatch endeavor. The Quest 2 has easily been the most successful of these efforts, so it makes sense for the Cambria to adopt the Quest nomenclature when it hits the market. Still, it doesn’t quite mesh with what the company has said about Cambria in the past.
In another new step towards prioritizing VR, the company will be introducing Meta accounts next month. Previously, using Meta products like VR headsets required a Facebook account. But soon, users will reportedly be able to create a separate account, unrelated to Facebook, to engage with Meta’s existing (and future) VR hardware.
This will come as a major relief to those who purchased headsets from Meta/Facebook when the company still used Oculus accounts, as the shift to using Facebook for logging in caused no shortage of headaches when it took place in 2020, especially since it coincided with the Quest 2 launch. We just hope that nobody gets locked out of their new device in the shift to a new account system this time around.
Back to that future hardware: Facebook declined Gizmodo’s request for comment on the alleged new product moniker. If the accidental code reveal is accurate, though, there’s some irony to Meta dubbing its next headset Quest Pro.
The company currently only sells one headset, the $299 Quest 2. In a video from Meta’s Facebook Connect 2021 conference, Mark Zuckerberg went out of his way to distance the forthcoming Cambria headset from its predecessors. “This isn’t the next Quest. It’s going to be compatible with Quest, but Cambria will be a completely new, advanced and high-end product,” he said. Yet, Quest Pro sure sounds a lot like the next Quest, even if the connection is apparent in name alone.
The next gen headset is set to include lots of new features. There will be more sensors to detect and reflect the users’ facial expression on their Metaverse avatar in real-time. Plus, the Quest Pro/Cambria headset will reportedly have high resolution, full color, mixed-reality passthrough—in theory allowing users to easily interact in both actual reality and Metaverse reality at the same time, at least as explained by Zuckerberg and the director of product for Meta’s VR branch, Angela Chang, in the conference video. Finally, the headset will use “pancake optics,” or a new type of slim, layered lens that will offer the “best optics ever in one of our headsets,” Chang said.
Meta hasn’t yet released an official price for new headset. Though, it’ll be sold for “significantly more” than $799, according to a report from UploadVR. And Bloomberg reported that the cost will be over $1,000. Apparently, you have to pay big to have as much fun(?) as the Zuck is having in this first look video—Quest Pro/Cambria conveniently blurred out.
But at least you won’t need to log in to the same service your Aunt shares her vacation photos on just to use it.