A comic-like torso pops up in space.

With a twist that suggests origins from the sunny West Coast of the United States, he explains in English how the program works.

Anyone who is familiar with elaborately produced games is used to clean, clear language.

The torso, who hopefully still has his legs in real life and introduces himself as Michael, appears to be one of the program's developers.

He talks like his mouth has grown, with a slight sneer, somewhat slurred and liberal use of the filler word "like".

Gregory Bruner

Editor in Business.

  • Follow I follow

There is supposed to be a relaxed, creative atmosphere in the Berlin office of the Facebook group Meta when the new glasses for virtual and mixed reality (VR, XR) from the “Quest” series are presented there on Wednesday.

Because the "Quest Pro" is primarily aimed at creative people.

However, these creative people are not allowed to pursue unprofitable art, because a pair of glasses costs around 1800 euros.

Meta has high hopes for the new product.

In the group's just published quarterly figures, the VR division Reality Labs posted a 20 percent increase in expenditure of 5 billion dollars.

With a decreased turnover of 727 million dollars, the loss was 4.3 billion dollars.

This is mainly due to lower sales of the consumer model "Quest 2".

Competitor Sony has probably also felt the waning appetite for VR topics.

The Japanese recently lowered their sales forecasts for their own “Playstation VR2” glasses from 2 million to 1.5 million from April to March 2024.

Precision sensor technology has its price

The surcharge of Meta's premium product of around 1350 euros compared to "Quest 2" is justified by a lighter construction, higher image resolution, more integrated cameras that capture the surroundings more sharply and in color, and the ability to read the user's facial expressions.

There are also new controllers that no longer need to be followed by the glasses to simulate gestures.

The controllers themselves are equipped with cameras that determine their location in space.

A new charging station completes the package.

All the cameras may ring alarm bells for one or the other privacy advocate.

"The Quest Pro was always thought of in terms of privacy," Rupa Rao, Meta's VR product manager, tried to appease in a question and answer session at the event.

All data transmission and the recording of facial expressions are initially switched off.

They must first be activated manually.

Beautiful, new, virtual working world

Visitors to the event were also allowed to lend a hand.

Four of the five applications presented were of a creative nature.

In Torso Michael's application "Shapes XR" something like small, interactive dioramas can be created.

The example levitating in space is an indicator for the weather, over a small landscape.

This can be placed virtually on the real desk.

The glasses capture the environment with cameras and reproduce it vividly on the lenses of the user.

It is expanded with virtual objects that can be built and placed by the user.

Other applications include planning software for architects, virtual turntables and a mixed reality room design tool.

A key part of Meta's strategy is collaboration.

In the "Metaversum", all users should be able to work together on projects, regardless of location.

However, this is not yet apparent in the applications shown, since everything was presented to individual people.

The appearance was not improved by the surrounding meta employees, who had to ask the testers questions about the current events without glasses in order to be able to help them.

Only the conference software "Workrooms" was demonstrated with Torso Matt, a Meta employee who had connected to a virtual workroom from London.

Here you could also see the magic of facial expression tracking, which projected Matt's real facial movements passably onto the avatar - regardless of the upper body, which whirled wildly around its own axis in places.

It will be interesting to see whether people like to stay in "workrooms" after eliminating the teething problems.

Or whether it stays in the niche with the vile video call and the VR glasses.