Mixed reality is new territory for Meta and for consumers. According to Meta, the first reactions and signals are positive.
Launched in October, Meta Quest 3 is being marketed as the first affordable mixed reality headset.
Unlike virtual reality, which has gone through many hardware iterations, mixed reality is still in its infancy, and even industry veterans like John Carmack are skeptical that it will increase headset sales. Despite these doubts, it appears to be popular with users.
In his end-of-year review and outlook, Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth writes that seven of the top 20 apps are mixed reality apps, and this within months of the launch of Quest 3.
“We’re seeing strong signals that people really value these experiences. There are already hundreds of mixed reality apps in our store where a majority of users have tried mixed reality features.”
Progress in mixed reality to accelerate in 2024
Bosworth does not specify what exactly he means by the “top 20 apps”. He may be referring to an internal metric.
The Top selling category of the Quest Store currently includes many VR games with a mixed reality mode or mixed reality feature, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers are buying these apps because of their mixed reality aspect. And pure mixed reality apps like Pillow are still rare or will be released next year (Demeter, Laser Dance).
Meta’s Director of Content Ecosystem, Chris Pruett, said in a GDC presentation to developers back in the spring that Meta has been getting signals of interest from customers in mixed reality, at a time when grainy black-and-white passthrough was the standard.
Bosworth expects mixed reality’s progress to accelerate in 2024 as more people gain access to mixed reality and developers learn how to use the new technology.
Meta CTO teases “industry-first products”
In the blog post, Bosworth brings up the tenth anniversary of Meta’s AI labs and the upcoming tenth anniversary of Meta’s XR research efforts in 2024. Facebook acquired Oculus in March 2014.
Bosworth suggests that the intersection of these two technologies could one day lead to a revolutionary new product: AR glasses with a built-in AI assistant that can help users throughout their day.
Long-term bets are one of the most valuable things a technology companies can do, says Bosworth. “Over the years this research has led to breakthroughs like the pancake lenses on Quest Pro and Quest 3 and the amazing Codec Avatars prototype that Mark Zuckerberg and Lex Fridman tried out this year,” Bosworth writes. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and Reality Labs’ research breakthroughs will enable us to release a string of industry-first products over the coming years.”
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