Meta just announced that it would raise the price of its Quest 2 virtual reality headsets by $100 the following month. If you did a double take upon noticing that news, we commiserate — it’s bizarre for a two-year-old consumer tech product suddenly to go up in price.
However, tech products are often insulated from inflation, but not this time. We’re conditioned to predict the price of tech products to go down over time, gratitude to the relentless improvement of technology and more efficient manufacturing techniques.
But here, the exact product you could purchase in September 2020 will cost 33 percent more in August 2022.
The official reason Meta is upping prices is that “the costs to make and ship our products have been at the peak,” according to a company blog post credited only to the “Oculus Blog.” “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.”
Prices for many things we cover here at The Verge have increased recently, like old Lego sets, your Netflix subscription, and Teslas. Typically, though, if a product costs more than before, it comes with something new. Apple’s latest MacBook Air is $200 more than the older model, but it has a unique design, more prominent display, faster processor, and better webcam. So you are getting more for more of your money. The Quest 2 you bought in August is not that. It is the same product — same displays, same processor, same design — you could have purchased when it launched.
The most immediate comparison to the Quest 2’s price jump was when Sonos raised its Arc soundbar price in September by $100. In my mind, though, that’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison. The Arc is a premium speaker that was already expensive when it launched (its original price was $799). At the same time, the Quest 2 was designed from the outset to be a more affordable entry into VR hardware, especially given that it’s a standalone headset that doesn’t require a PC. Valve’s Index, in contrast, costs $999 and needs to be connected to a PC to work.
One possible explanation for the new Quest 2 price is rising inflation. Of course, many things are more expensive now, and Meta’s blog post alludes to that. But the higher price could also help the company as it’s tightening its belt across the board.
Meta’s Reality Labs business, which houses its VR hardware, bleeds money right now. Last quarter, Meta reported a nearly $3 billion loss for Reality Labs (pdf) — so stemming losses from Quest 2 could be one way Meta is trying to shore things up. And Meta doesn’t have the size of production of established large hardware manufacturers like Apple, so the economies of scale that typically apply across the shelf life of a product may not have as significant an impact on its bottom line.
The Quest 2 price hike also arrives at a strange time, as it feels like we’re on the precipice of a significant sea change in VR hardware. Sony has been drip-feeding information about its PSVR2 hardware all year, though the company still hasn’t announced when the headset will be released or how much it will cost. In addition, apple is rumored to launch a high-end mixed reality headset that could be released in January. And Meta has openly discussed its high-end headset, codenamed Project Cambria, that it’s set to release later this year — a fact the company mentioned in Tuesday’s blog post.
But with Tuesday’s announcement, it’s clear that Meta isn’t wanting the Quest 2 to be as much of a loss leader as it has been, even if the price hike is to stem losses and not introduce a profit margin. The price change goes into effect on August 1, and if you’d like to pick one up before the cost goes up.
The Quest 2 was unveiled in September 2020 during Facebook Connect 7.
Oculus Quest 2, rebranded as Meta Quest 2, is a VR headset developed by Facebook Reality Labs in November 2021. It is the successor to the company’s earlier headset, the Oculus Quest.
As with its predecessor, the Quest 2 can run as a standalone headset with an interior, Android-based OS, and with Oculus-compatible VR software operating on a desktop computer when connected over USB or Wi-Fi. It is a refresh of the authentic Oculus Quest with a similar design but lighter weight, a display with a higher refresh rate, updated internal specifications and per-eye resolution and revised Oculus Touch controllers.
The Quest 2 mainly received positive reviews as an incremental update to the Quest. Still, some of its changes faced criticism, including its strap, reduced Inter-Pupillary Distance options, and a new essential for users to log in with a Facebook account to utilize the headset and Oculus services.
Quest 2 was first unleashed in two SKUs differentiated by storage capacity, with a 64 GB model cost at US$299 and a 256 GB model cost at $399. Both are US$100 lowering over their equivalent SKUs on the first-generation model. A 128 GB model substituted the 64 GB model of the Quest 2 at the exact price point in 2021.
In November 2021, as a component of the rebranding of Facebook, Inc. as Meta, the Oculus brand started to be phased out. As a result, Oculus Quest 2 was rebranded as “Meta Quest 2” in promotional materials. More recent production runs of the headset as of 2022 bring this name and the Meta logo on their packaging and hardware Oculus.
Meta circulated a commercial for the headset, “Old Friends, New Fun,” during Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.
In July 2022, it was declared that the Quest 2 would receive a $100 price boost for both current storage types of the headset, with the 128GB model priced at US$399 and the 256GB model at US$499. The prices were planned to change on August 1, 2022. Along with the price change, a proposal to download Beat Saber at no cost was announced and will last from August 1 to December 31, 2022.