All The Announcements From This Year's Meta Connect 2022!
This year's Meta Connect had many interesting announcements around improving the social experience of VR via Horizon Worlds, new game announcements, improvements to VR fitness apps, work and productivity apps, and of course the announcement of the Meta Quest Pro!
Here we'll break down the key note into bite sized segments so you can get all the new information you need to know without having to watch the hour and a half keynote yourself!
Meta Quest Pro
Lets start with the news everyone was waiting for, confirmation of the Meta Quest Pro!
The Meta Quest Pro is a headset designed for work productivity and mixed reality pass-through. Specs include 256GB of storage, 12GB RAM, and a Snapdragon XR2+ Qualcomm processor meaning 50% more power through through better thermal performance.
As far as the lenses, they are indeed pancake which folds light over several times, are 40% thinner than the Quest 2's lenses and this also equates to more pixels in the center, meaning more sharp, clear visuals and text. The LCD display has 307% more pixels per inch, uses local dimming technology and gives 75% more contrast and vibrant colors.
The Quest Pro comes with a magnetic light blocker that attaches to the lens area for when you want to switch over to VR from mixed reality mode to avoid having any light spill.
By default the Quest Pro comes with a battery pack in the back of the head strap giving better balance to the headset itself.
On to the controllers- the Meta Quest Touch Pro controllers are meant to feel like an extension of your hands, they track independently of your headset (unlike the Quest 2) allowing for full 360 range of motion plus a different type of haptic feedback (TruTouch) for much more responsive, precise feedback.
At the bottom of the controller is a stylus that you can keep in the controller for writing on a physical desk in mixed reality, or you can pull it out to use in a virtual white board.
The Meta Quest Pro will come with a charging dock in which you can charge both the headset and the controllers at the same time, which is a nice touch.
Other fun facts about the headset:
-The mixed reality pass-through technology included in the headset is fully RGB. Meta hopes that developers will build experiences that incorporate both the physical and real world.
-The Quest Pro has inward facing cameras that track your IRL facial expressions in order to project that onto your Meta avatar, animating your VR avatar in a much more lifelike way.
Priced at $1499.99, you can actually pre order your very own Meta Quest Pro today and its expected to be shipped out Oct 25th!
There were a couple of announcements for games coming out on the Quest as well!
Iron Man VR by Oculus Studios/Marvel - nothing much was shown about this game yet other than an Iron Man rendering and the title screen, but this game has been slated to release Nov 3rd and has its own page launched now!
Population: One has announced a sandbox mode in which players can create their own maps, game modes and other modifiers to their hearts desire. With this update will come new and featured community maps! Sandbox mode is slated to release in December of this year.
Among Us VR has an official release date of November 10th, and starting today you can pre-order it for $9.99!
Two different Skydance Interactive announcements:
The Walking Dead Saints and Sinners Chapter 2: Retribution has been officially announced to release December 1st. They also teased a very ambiguous title screen for a new game labeled BEHEMOTH.
Interestingly Microsoft will also be working with Meta to bring Xbox Cloud Gaming to Quest devices, allowing you to play your favorite 2D games in VR (basically remaining a "flat" game, but viewable and playable in a VR screen via an Xbox controller).
A few announcements/ updates for the fitness lovers:
The fitness/rhythm game Supernatural will feature a new move type - knee strikes!
Gym Class which is a basketball game will be releasing for the Quest this fall.
Meta is going to be releasing some new fitness based accessories for your Quest starting October 25th which includes knuckle grips, and a more sweat resistant facial interface.
Fitness tracking will be added to the Meta companion app so you can keep track of your stats outside of headset, and soon you'll be able to share your fitness progress with selected friends in a new app coming soon.
Social Experiences/Horizon Worlds
Meta seems to be making big moves to get their avatar and social experience shared not only with VR - but through outside apps as well.
There was a lot of talk of integrating Horizon World into multiple apps and being accessible from multiple device types such as through your web browser or phone via a shareable link.
Soon you should also be able to take a video in Horizon Worlds and be able to share it to Instagram as a reel instantly.
Some other improvements to Horizon Worlds will include the ability to improve the look and feel by giving creators the option to import tri-mesh objects: basically creations made in Blender, Maya, and other common 3d modeling applications. They are also working with Epic Games to creative commons a sketchfab library directly to Horizon Worlds.
Finally, Meta is partnering with NBC Universal to make co-created experiences around big IPs like The Office, Universal Monsters, Dream Works, Universal Halloween Horror Nights and more. It was mentioned you will be able to experience these both in Horizon Worlds and Universal theme parks!
Meta's intent with the Quest Pro headset is primarily targeted to those who want to be able to work remotely but not miss out on the interactive experiences of working physically together (a feeling that is really hard to replicate).
To this end, Meta is partnering with a lot of common productivity apps (Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc) to allow users to connect to Horizon Workrooms from these preferred apps.
Horizon Workrooms is meant to be a space for users to collaborate in one place, with future updates including breakout groups, sticky notes for white boarding, the ability to import and review 3D models and more.
Meta is BIG on avatars, giving you the ability to use your avatar as stickers, in IG/FB stories, IG reels and comments across Instagram, Facebook messenger, and WhatsApp. Soon you'll be able to use your avatar in calls and meetings on non VR surfaces as well such as Zoom - using your phone's camera and microphone to animate the avatar.
An avatar store is launching later this year, giving users the opportunity to shop for virtual clothes in VR. This also opens up the ability to wear branded clothes and the start of Meta owning a digital store for digital goods.
LEGS! Meta avatars will finally have support for legs and they actually seemed to move quite well in the example shown during the keynote. Leg support will go to Horizon World first then more apps over time.
With all these exciting announcements, it's been a wild ride watching Meta grow. Can't wait to see what next year's Meta Connect brings!