Meta, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, hosted Meta Connect 2022, its annual developer conference for VR and Oculus hardware platform on Tuesday, October 11. At the conference, Meta made various announcements, from unveiling Meta Quest Pro and partnerships with Microsoft, Adobe, and Accentures to avatars getting legs.
Here are the most important announcements Meta and its partners made during Meta Connect 2022.
Meta Quest Pro unveiled
Meta‘s most anticipated mixed reality headset, Meta Quest Pro (previously codenamed Project Cambria), made its official debut. Priced at $1,499, the headset is now up for pre-order and will be available for purchase from October 25 in 22 countries. The Meta Quest Pro box includes the headset, Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers, stylus tips, partial light blockers, and a charging dock.
The mixed-reality headset features a new optical stack with several layers of thin pancake lenses replacing Fresnel lenses, which was seen in Meta Quest 2.
Meta says the pancake optics fold light several times over, reducing the depth of the optical module by almost half, providing clear and sharp visuals.
The LCDs utilise local dimming and quantum dot technology to provide richer and more vivid colours. The company says it has developed a local dimming tech that can control more than 500 LED blocks independently, giving the displays 75% more contrast.
Meta Quest Pro offers 37 per cent more pixels per inch and 10 per cent greater pixels per degree than Meta Quest 2. The Quest Pro will offer a 25 per cent improvement in full-field visual sharpness in the centre view, a 50 per cent improvement in the peripheral region, and a 1.3X larger colour gamut than Meta Quest 2.
It is the first device powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ platform, which is optimised for VR to run at 50 per cent more power than Meta Quest 2 with better thermal dissipation, resulting in significantly better performance.
Meta Quest Pro comes with 12GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and ten high-res sensors (five inside the headset and five outside) that help enhance various immersive experiences.
Meta Quest Pro has an all-new sensor architecture with high-res outward-facing cameras that capture 4X the pixels for a full-colour mixed reality experience through stereoscopic mixed reality Passthrough.
Thanks to its pancake lenses and the curved-cell battery Meta Quest Pro is the slimmest and most balanced VR device, claims the company.
The latest mixed-reality device features what Meta calls a ‘continuous lens spacing adjustment mechanism,’ accommodating inter-pupillary distances (IPDs) between 55mm and 75mm.
It also comes with an eye relief dial, allowing users to adjust the distance of the lens from their eyes. With an open periphery design, Quest Pro lets users easily switch between real and virtual worlds.
The Quest Pro comes with Quest Touch Pro controllers, with three built-in sensors to track position in 3D space. In addition, Meta says the new controllers are more ergonomic and have upgraded haptics featuring the TruTouch Haptics system.
The controllers can be charged through the charging dock and 45W USB-C power adapter.
During the conference, Meta also announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring its productivity tools to Meta’s virtual reality devices. It includes Microsoft Windows 365, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Intune, and Azure Active Directory support, and the ability to join Teams meeting inside Meta Horizon Workrooms.
Meta Horizon Workrooms is a dedicated VR space for teams to connect and collaborate.
In addition to Microsoft, Meta also announced a partnership with Accenture. This strategic move will help to expand the Meta Quest and Horizon Worlds ecosystems by integrating them with Accenture’s Independent Software Vendor Program.
Meta is also collaborating with Adobe to bring Adobe’s Substance 3D apps for professional 3D creators, designers, and artists in Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2.
Next year, the company plans to launch Meta Quest for Business, a subscription bundle for Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 that will include essential admin features like device and application management, premium support, and more.
Meta also announced a multi-year collaboration with NBCUniversal, bringing iconic comedy and horror experiences into the metaverse, including The Office, Blumhouse, DreamWorks, Universal Monsters, and Halloween Horror Nights.
Meta Horizon Worlds and Avatars
Meta announced that its virtual reality online application Horizon Worlds would soon be available to all users on PC and mobile devices. In addition, the company claims to work with the YouTube VR team where friends who hang out at Meta Horizon Home can watch YouTube videos together.
The company also announced the Meta Avatar Store, where users can shop for virtual clothing from some of their favourite brands. Mark also announced that the avatars are also getting legs this time.
“We spent a long time making sure Meta Quest 2 could accurately—and reliably—bring your legs into VR. Legs will roll out to Worlds first, so we can see how it goes. Then we’ll begin bringing legs into more experiences over time as our technology improves,” says Meta.