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Meta Quest 3 beats Apple Vision Pro to market as first mass-market mixed reality headset to go on sale, shipping from Oct 10

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Facebook’s Meta Quest 3, marketed by the company as the “world’s first mass-market mixed reality headset”, has been given a release date of October 10, 2023 and is open for pre-orders now.

By being released months ahead of Apple’s first mixed reality headset Vision Pro, expected to become available in early 2024, Mark Zuckerberg’s firm is stealing a march in what some industry-watchers have suggested could be a new retail headset war. The two devices are aimed at different ends of the market, though, with the Meta Quest Pro’s price starting at $499 and Apple’s Vision Pro costing from $3,499.

Zuckerberg’s vision for the metaverse, in which mixed reality headset use is mainstream as we spend portions of our lives in the virtual worlds, could come a little closer to reality with the release of the Quest 3. Many of those in the adult content industry will hope so too, considering the recent rise in popularity of VR and mixed reality erotic and porn platforms such as virtual strip clubs using passthrough technology and dedicated VR porn sites.

Pre-release reviews of the Quest 3’s passthrough capabilities – rendering of the ‘real world’ to the wearer’s vision, achieved with cameras on the headset filming their surroundings and relaying it to the viewing area – have been glowing. An “almost life-like rendering of the real world” was reported by a Bloomberg journalist who tried it out. You can access the passthrough mode by double tapping the side of the headset.

Meta says that the there are ten times as many pixels making up the displays of the Meta Quest 3 as its predecessor, the Quest 2. Meta also claims that the Quest 3 has double the graphics processing power of the Quest 2, and that the new device has an optic profile 40 percent slimmer than before.

A woman wearing a Meta Quest 3 VR headset in front of a window.
The Meta Quest 3 headset: Works as a hat, too

The nudity and sexual content-shy company might not be rolling out a Meta-approved mixed reality strip club any time soon, but a big plus for customers may be the introduction of ‘augments’, expected in 2024. These are apps and features visualized and used in mixed reality through the headset, such as a weather predictor that appears to sit on your actual coffee table.

There has been a lot of skepticism recently about how much global interest in the metaverse exists, and of Zuckerberg’s prediction that it represents the next generation of the internet after social media.

Questions about this remain, but as high-spec mixed reality headsets such as the Quest 3 get closer to true mainstream home use affordability, and with the prospect of a Meta vs Apple headset retail battle soon, the devices certainly seem to be in place, at least.

The Meta Quest 3, like the Quest 2, also comes with a range of optional accessories, including a battery-equipped headset for additional play time, and a charging stand.

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