In 2020, Meta launched Quest 2, a fully immersive computing platform that - for the first time ever - broke through the adoption barrier and introduced Virtual Reality (VR) to the mainstream consumer. This year, with the introduction of the Quest Pro, Meta has moved the category forward in every way: comfort, resolution, tracking, compute and content. But the Quest Pro is so much more than a spec bump. With the introduction of new sensors that capture gesture, facial expressions and external environment, Quest Pro unlocks broad industry potential for developers - enabling a whole new world of Mixed Reality (MR) applications as well as the ability to transport an individual's expression and engagement into unique embodied experiences never seen before.
Introducing Mixed Reality.
More than just being an advancement in mainstream VR, Quest Pro is the world's first mainstream Mixed Reality-capable headset. Mixed Reality enables rich, digital interactions to be combined and overlaid with real analog environments to create entirely new experiences. We deliver this by introducing some powerful solutions to the category - all elegantly designed into the headset. First, the new strap design takes pressure off the face and allows us to make light-blocking an optional accessory. Removing light-blocking enables the user to maintain peripheral vision while wearing the device, grounding them in their environment. Second, full color cameras are introduced on the front of the headset - skillfully crafted and calibrated to serve as the user's eyes and deliver 3D depth perception of the real world environment. Third, a sophisticated combination of 3D sensors (so well integrated they are invisible) allow the headset to track and map the user's environment, enabling real time overlay of digital elements.
Raising the Bar.
The enhanced resolution of Pro delivers the best experience ever of exclusive content you can only get from the Quest Marketplace. Our new social presence technology delivers exciting new benefits, such as facial expressions for avatars and Eye-Tracked Foveated Rendering which enables developers to scale up the resolution of their content and games up to 5x without compromising performance. Finally, our controllers for Pro are the most sophisticated ever made - introducing rechargeability and tracking that never fails due to the onboard processing built into each controller.
Addressing VR Fatigue.
When developing Quest Pro we knew it would be a big step forward technologically, but it is also a category that needs to evolve to become more wearable. The challenge was to incorporate the next generation of technology into a form factor that was easier to doff, easier to handle and looked (and felt) better on the face. Many years of research, anthropometric data, prototypes and iterations went into the strap mechanism which enables the device to sit comfortably on the forehead, rather than the sensitive parts of the cheeks and nose bridge. This, along with the option to remove light blocking in the periphery, has a substantial benefit to comfort as there is less pressure on the face, better air flow and situational awareness and measurable relief from some of the fatiguing aspects of full immersion.
We designed Quest Pro to be a meaningful step into the future of VR - evolving the traditional "box on the face" of VR into something resembling a pair of digital glasses - this is intentional. We sought a form factor that addressed the contour of the head to look more form-fitted when wearing while resembling a device someone could look through, signaling to others that the user is aware and present. We designed a sparing strap and facial contact design that won't demolish your hairdo or makeup when wearing while also providing the benefits of quick-adjust and easy doffing and donning.
Designed for the Senses.
The technology of Quest Pro is exponentially more complex than typical consumer electronics. As a wearable object, the complexity only increases once you factor in variability in human beings. Despite all of this, the design of Quest Pro is remarkably simple and refined: able to conform to a great variety of people of various shapes, sizes and age groups.
The Pro controllers are a big advancement in size reduction and performance. Typical VR controllers are sensed from the outside by sensors either in the room or on the headset. This adds a lot of bulk and weight to accommodate the IR transmitting arrays built in. Our pro controllers are the first that are tracked by onboard compute in each controller. Meaning less bulk (goodbye tracking loops!) and far better tracking that is never lost during play.
Meta's vision is ultimately about connecting people. There is no possibility of connection without representation of the self, and this technology is a big step forward in that pursuit. Similar to the introduction of hand tracking in Quest 2, Meta is bringing the human element into VR with Pro. The introduction of an advanced face and eye tracking system integrated into every Quest Pro introduces a new level of expression and functionality to the VR embodiment experience. Avatars can smile and express emotions and convey more of the individual's personality.
Those who purchase Quest Pro today will have the best VR experience available using today's games and media, but the best is yet to come. Developers are hard at work designing entirely new experiences that leverage Quest Pro's innovative platform advancements. For example, just as the human eye only focuses on a small set of details at once in order to save brain processing power, developers can now track the user's gaze to optimize resolution and save CPU processing power. This technique, called Eye-Tracked Foveated Rendering, enables a 5x increase of graphics resolution unlocked by the innovations in Quest Pro.
Mixed Reality has vast potential and may quickly eclipse Virtual Reality for its utility in practical, real-world applications. This potential is unlocked for the first time in full color with Quest Pro and we can expect to see amazing new experiences for work, play and connection coming from developers in the following months. This exciting capability will pave the way for further advancing the Quest marketplace of apps and building a foundation for future AR experiences.
Meta has always been about connecting people, and this means a great deal more than gaming. The Quest Pro is a meaningful step forward in bringing people together for social and productivity applications due to its built-in face and gesture tracking technology which now enables enhanced expression and embodiment inside the metaverse. It is an important step forward in "being there" for the world's most advanced connectivity platform.