The site, which Meta touts as the world’s first mixed reality app delivered to the web (these apps are normally delivered through app stores rather than websites), demonstrates what Meta calls the “immersive web.”
For users wearing the Quest Pro headset over their eyes, the site takes a live feed of their immediate surroundings from helmet-mounted cameras, then combines that feed with sci-fi content streaming across the internet to create a single , three-dimensional image displayed on the 3D screen of the helmet.
We are one of the horses they backed so I would be silly to say they backed the wrong horse.
— Trent Clews-de Castella, CEO of Phoria
The Quest Pro headset, which will retail for $2,450 when it goes on sale Oct. 25, represents Meta’s push toward the corporate end of mixed reality. It combines the augmented reality features of Microsoft’s very business-focused Hololens headset with the virtual reality features users of Meta’s older, cheaper Quest headsets might be more familiar with.
(Indeed, Microsoft announced a number of pro features for the headset at the same launch event, including virtual reality meetings for its Teams collaboration software and Meta Avatar support for Teams, which will allow digital avatar of a Quest user to appear in a Teams Meeting.)
But Meta’s launch event drew its fair share of critics, who repeatedly complained that the price of the new headset showed that Meta had lost touch with its Facebook user base, and that the move to the Metaverse would have been better off as a side research project. of the Facebook business, rather than something Mr. Zuckerberg had bet the whole company on.
Clews-de Castella, however, sees Facebook’s rebranding in Meta and moving into the Metaverse quite differently.
“People might look at all the money Meta spends on the Metaverse, and the 10 years it would take to recoup that investment, and wonder if he backed the right horse.
“But that investment is actually going to studios like Phoria. We’re one of the horses they backed, so I’d be silly to say they backed the wrong horse,” he says.
Just as people complained when Steve Jobs introduced a phone that lacked a BlackBerry-style keyboard, “step changes” like moving to a more immersive version of the web “will always be met with naysayers.”
“But we’ve seen VR adoption ramp up in our own applications,” says Clews-de Castella.
“Apple is also working hard behind the scenes, and when they come to the party, we’ll see a huge proliferation of immersive content.
“We would have gotten there eventually, but with Facebook joining us, I think we’ll get there faster,” he says.