Meta Connect 2022: Everything You Need To Know
| Tony Mowbray
The Meta Quest Pro, new Quest 2 games and the latest experimental technologies were just some of the things featured at this year’s Meta Connect Conference. We’ve summarized the key takeaway points for you below.
Meta Quest Pro
Let’s start with the most obvious announcement that many were expecting at this year's conference, the reveal of the Meta Quest Pro. The Quest Pro is a high-end VR headset designed mainly for work and business purposes. The Pro comes with a range of cutting-edge features that distinguish it from Meta’s gaming focused headset, the Meta Quest 2.
The Pro will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ platform which is reported to run at 50% more power than the Quest 2. It will also allow for full-color mixed reality experiences and is capable of eye/face tracking. You can read more about the features of the Meta Quest Pro in the Oculus blog post here.
This latest technology comes at a cost however, with the Meta Quest Pro retailing at $1,499 USD, over three times more than the Quest 2 which currently starts at $399 USD. The Meta Quest Pro is available for pre-order now, with units shipping as early as October 25th.
There wasn’t much in the way of gaming news but there were some juicy tidbits including a release date of November 10th 2022 given for the much anticipated Quest 2 game, Among Us VR. Another hotly anticipated Quest 2 title, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution, was also given a release date of December this year.
Chapter 2: Retribution promises to extend the zombie shooting fun of the first chapter (simply named The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners) by adding fresh locales, original quests and a new, unstoppable, axe wielding foe to face off against.
Skydance Interactive, the developers behind The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, also teased a trailer for their latest VR game, Behemoth. There’s not much information about the game right now, except that it will be a survival game set in a brutal, monster inhabited world and is set for release in late 2023 on Quest 2 and Rift platforms.
Other gaming news included Iron Man VR coming to the Quest 2 this November 3rd. Iron Man VR was originally available only on PSVR and has received a respectable 73% average game score on metacritic. Xbox cloud gaming was also announced to be coming to Quest 2 but a specific release date was not given. This app allows Xbox Game Pass ultimate subscribers to choose from a massive library of games to stream through their devices.
Meta announced a partnership with NBCUniversal to bring the television and movie streaming app Peacock to the Quest platform. This will also include the development of virtual spaces in Horizon Worlds based on popular shows like The Office and other IP from production companies like Dreamworks and Blumhouse.
A Meta conference wouldn’t be a Meta conference without some mention of the metaverse. New avatar features were on show and it was outlined how the metaverse was to be expanded through partnerships with different tech companies.
It was explained how interactions would become much more realistic with avatars now capable of facial expressions through the use of the Quest Pro’s face/eye tracking sensors. Meta also plans to add virtual legs onto the disembodied torsos of their avatars in the bid to increase the sense of presence.
Also shown was a “codec” avatar demo that was particularly impressive. The Reality Labs team demonstrated a hyper-realistic digital face that was generated through a simple 30 second scan using a mobile phone. Although, it’s reported that there’s still a lot to work out with this technology so don’t expect hyper-realistic avatars just yet.
In addition to the avatar developments, Meta announced collaborations with major tech companies like Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft.
Meta seems to be making a big push for being productive in VR that coincides with the release of their work focused Meta Pro headset. At the conference, it was announced that Microsoft will be partnering with Meta to bring their workplace tools like Excel and Powerpoint into VR.
The popular video conferencing software Zoom is also set to feature in Meta’s workplace focused plans. A new feature called Mission Zoom is scheduled to arrive in 2023 that will let your avatar appear on screen if you choose not to appear on camera yourself.
In addition, Meta announced they are in the process of building a “Meta Quest for Business” subscription product that is due for release next year.
We were treated to a little glimpse of the future by the chief Reality Labs scientist, Michael Abrash. A device worn on the wrist was shown that was capable of controlling actions on screen by reading the electrical signals coming from the muscles. The device was capable of adjusting to the user over time so that onscreen actions could eventually be controlled through the slightest of muscle movements.
That about wraps up the main takeaways from this year’s Meta Connect conference. If you’re interested in watching the whole thing, you can find the full Meta Connect Keynote here.
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