According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta has struck a deal with Tencent to sell a new, cheaper Meta Quest in China.
The preliminary agreement makes Tencent the exclusive seller of Meta’s VR headsets in China, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous sources. There have been rumors of a partnership between Meta and Tencent since early 2023.
According to the report, Meta would take a bigger share of device sales, while Tencent would take more of the content and service revenue. Games and apps from Tencent will also be offered on the headset. Tencent is one of the world’s largest game publishers and owns several studios, including Riot Games (League of Legends, Valorant).
A cheaper Quest headset reportedly coming soon
The Wall Street Journal writes that the headset will also be sold in other markets. The report suggests that this is not Meta Quest 3, but a new, low-cost headset. Meta Quest 3 starts at 500 US dollars.
There have been rumors for some time about a new Quest headset that will be released in 2024 and will follow in the footsteps of the Meta Quest 2 in terms of pricing. What technical compromises Meta might make for a possible “Meta Quest 3 Lite” can only be speculated at the moment. A Chinese analyst recently claimed that the device will use Quest 3’s new chipset and Fresnel lenses instead of pancake lenses and will not have color pass-through. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the headset will use cheaper lenses than the Quest 3, which means they will probably be Fresnel lenses.
According to the report, the headset, whose official name is not yet known, will be released in China at the end of 2024. The price is not mentioned. In the U.S. and Europe, the headset could be launched in the first half of the year and cost as little as $200, according to the Chinese analyst.
A new opportunity for Meta
For Meta, the deal would be a chance to return to a market where Facebook and Instagram have been blocked for nearly 15 years. It wouldn’t be the first time Meta has tried to break into China with a VR product. In 2018, with the help of Xiaomi, Meta launched the standalone 3DOF headset Oculus Go in the Chinese market.
With a Quest launch in China, Meta could also put pressure on Pico and its owner, Tiktok’s parent company Bytedance. Pico is reportedly in the midst of a round of layoffs after its VR business failed to perform as expected.
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