Mark Zuckerberg has emerged from his demonic lair to demand a sacrifice from the common people beneath him as he slowly but surely prepares his metaversal empire to take over the world. We are not worthy, and should know our place as the scum we are.
When he isn’t failing to drink water like a human being and throwing spears with the grace of a cactus in a hurricane, the social media mogul is presumably making all the money in the world. Not enough though, as the recent price increase for the Meta Quest 2 makes perfectly clear. Yep. You read that right – they decided to raise the price of a headset that has already been on the market for several years at the time of writing.
Meta announced earlier this week that both models of the wireless VR headset will be increasing by $100, with similar hikes to follow across international markets. Its reason for this is your expected mixture of industry buzzwords: "By adjusting the price of Quest 2, we can continue to grow our investment in groundbreaking research and new product development that pushes the VR industry to new heights." I don’t buy it, and while the components for building such headsets might have become more expensive in the current climate, punishing the consumer for that reality is the most foolish move it could have made.
The addition of an ambitious roadmap for the future of virtual reality from Meta didn’t do much to soften the blow either, with no sign of a new headset or games that are set to take advantage of the Meta Quest 2 beyond what we already have. The medium is shifting more towards bespoke experiences and social applications these days anyway, and I just don’t feel like Meta has done enough to make the headset worth a purchase at its current price, let alone increasing it by 25 percent so newcomers are more frozen out than ever before.
Meta Quest 2 was so popular because it understood the inherent barriers virtual reality presented to the average consumer. A very small percentage of people have powerful gaming rigs capable of operating these headsets, and fewer still have the room and expendable income to make serious use of them. Oculus understood that it needed to not only go wireless to alleviate these shortcomings, but place everything inside the headset to offer equal levels of comfort and portability without any of the excess package. It worked.
I use this headset on a regular basis because I can charge it up, put it on, and immediately lose myself in all manner of excellent games. There are no longer any hoops to jump through beyond making sure I don’t accidentally punch my bookshelf or kick my sofa in the midst of a heated Beat Saber session. Speaking of, the masterful rhythm slasher is being included as a freebie for all future Meta Quest 2 purchases to make the increased price seem more appealing. However, you will need to purchase one before the end of this year once the new asking price comes into effect this August. Yep, even that has a catch.
This feels unparalleled to me. I understand refusing to reduce the price of hardware in today’s landscape, especially given how volatile it tends to be, but raising the price of is something we’ve never really seen before. Older devices tend to get cheaper as new iterations are developed and help push things forward, but now we’re seeing a relatively old headset sold for significantly more because Meta believes it can justify such a thing. It can’t, and the response to this news is already a damning sign it has made a mistake I hope it has the common sense to reverse. If not, it has left an open goal for PlayStation VR 2 to take advantage of as it captures a mainstream audience once again.
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