If we’re going to finally get to the promised land called “the metaverse,” users are apparently going to need to pony up a bit more to get us there. Meta announced Tuesday afternoon that it will be bumping up the price of both the 128GB and 256GB models of its popular Quest 2 headset by $US100 “in order to continue investing in moving the VR industry forward for the long term.”
In Australian dollars, that price increase roughly shakes out to be around $145 and will go into effect from 1 August.
In a strangely defensive blog post, Meta made a few sweeping overtures to its long support of the VR market, including the “billions of dollars” it spent to “nurture a thriving VR ecosystem.” Though, it’s not hard to point out the anti-competitive incentive Meta had to price its Quest series of VR goggles at a loss-leading $479 and $639 in order to beat out rivals like the HTC Vive. The price point was part of the reason why the system went to sell close to 15 million units since it was first unveiled in 2020, according to analyst firm IDC.
Monopolizing strategies aside, analysts have argued that the Quest helped grow the VR market by 97% in 2021 and 242% in the first quarter of 2022. Either way, it’s clear that, for Meta, pushing its “metaverse” ecosystem meant more to it than profiting off hardware sales. At least, until now.
Meta said the manufacturing and shipping costs have gone up, and so must the Quest. In order to smooth the furrowed brows of those who were considering getting their hands on a VR device, Meta said it will be including a copy of Beat Saber with every device for a limited time. Still, the announcement also means that all the Quest’s accessories are also going up in price. Those who purchase a Quest 2 from August 1 through the end of the year and sign in using their Meta account will be able to download Beat Saber for 14 days after they activate their device.
Meta still claims the Quest 2 is the best VR headset for its price on the market, and that’s largely true compared to other base station-less options. The HP Reverb costs $999 standard, and it requires a cable. The Pico Neo 3 is sitting at $1,199, and the Vive Focus would set you back close to $899. Meta itself has already hinted at more expensive headset models coming out in the next few years, including its high-end Project Cambria headset that’ll likely be priced well above $1,100.
The tech giant has not been doing as well as it would like in 2022. Leaked documents show the company cut hiring by 30%. This struggle is reportedly due to to slowing ad revenue and stagnating user growth amongst its social media platforms. Recent reports on the company’s internal messages show it’s considered staff cuts, and Business Insider reported total staff cuts could be as high as 10%.
As of writing, both Meta’s store and Amazon still have the Quest listed for its original price points. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about grabbing the headset, you don’t have much time left to pick one up before the price hike.
This article has been updated since its original publication.