Here’s a bold business strategy you don’t see every day: In order to facilitate the continued growth of virtual reality and the metaverse, Meta is increasing the price of its Quest 2 VR headsets by $100 on August 1. That means the price of the 128GB model will go from $299 to $399, while the 256GB unit will jump from $399 to $499.
Generally speaking, it’s more common for companies to lower the prices of their products when they’re trying to encourage more widespread consumer adoption, but in Facebook’s—sorry, Meta’s—defense, it, uhh, wants more money.
In order to continue investing in moving the VR industry forward for the long term, we are adjusting the price of Meta Quest 2 headsets to $399.99 (128GB) and $499.99 (256GB) starting on 8/1/22.July 26, 2022
“From gaming and productivity to fitness and beyond, VR has become increasingly popular as it positively impacts the ways we work, play, and connect with each other,” the company said in a blog post (opens in new tab). “People have spent over $1 billion on Meta Quest apps, helping to fuel developers’ businesses as they deliver the games and experiences that make VR great.
“At the same time, the costs to make and ship our products have been on the rise. By adjusting the price of Quest 2, we can continue to grow our investment in groundbreaking research and new product development that pushes the VR industry to new heights.”
Meta touted its planned release of a new high-end VR headset (opens in new tab) later this year, and said it has teams “dedicated to advancing the state of the art” in areas including hardware, haptics, interfaces, and more. It also claimed that even with the price hike, “Meta Quest 2 continues to be the most affordable VR headset with a comparable feature set on the market.”
“Now’s the right time for us to double down on our efforts to push the state of the art forward,” Meta said. “We’ll continue working alongside the developers, early adopters, and die-hard fans who play and build for VR every day, and we can’t wait to keep sharing the work we’re doing at Reality Labs on the road to the metaverse.”
The price hike comes as Meta appears to be struggling to achieve its vision for the metaverse and position on the social media food chain. A recent Verge (opens in new tab) report says that Facebook is facing real pressure from newer platforms like Tiktok, while ad revenues have been dramatically impacted by recent changes to Apple’s privacy options (opens in new tab) that give users much more control over the ads they’re fed.
Yet while Meta’s growth is slowing, the metaverse itself is still likely years away from profitability: In Meta’s Q1 earnings call in April, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that products coming out of Reality Labs (opens in new tab), the branch of Meta that produces VR and AR hardware and software, won’t be a “big revenue or profit contributor” until the market grows significantly.
“Maybe primarily, this is laying the groundwork for what I expect to be a very exciting 2030s when this is like—when this is sort of more established as the primary computing platform at that point,” Zuckerberg said (via RoadtoVR (opens in new tab)).
The good news, such as it is, is that everyone who buys a Quest 2 after the price hike takes effect (until December 31) will get a copy of the 2018 VR rhythm game Beat Saber (opens in new tab), which normally sells for $30 on Steam, for free. And if you’d rather save $100 than $30, you’ve got until August 1—just under a week—to snag a Quest 2 headset at its current price.