XR headset market: What options are on the market?

Facebook's parent company Meta controlled a market share of about 80 per cent last year

A user tries out the Oculus Quest virtual reality gaming system at the Facebook F8 Conference in San Jose, California. AFP
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Global XR – or extended reality – headset shipments are expected to increase by about 15 per cent to 10.1 million this year, a report has shown.

From playing games to using fitness apps, users are utilising XR headsets for a variety of purposes.

After declining by 20.9 per cent last year, XR headsets – a category that includes augmented reality and virtual reality headsets – will carry the growth momentum forward in the coming years, according to the International Data Corporation.

The industry is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 32.6 per cent between 2023 and 2027, it said.

Last year’s decline was not unexpected, given the limited number of vendors in the market, a challenging macroeconomic environment and a lack of mass market adoption by consumers, the US researcher said.

Overall, the market was led by Meta with a market share of nearly 80 per cent, followed by ByteDance-owned Pico with a 10 per cent market share.

The National looks at some of the more prominent XR headsets available in the market.

Meta’s Quest 2

Launched in 2020, the Quest 2 headset disrupted the industry as more users opted for it in search of indoor entertainment options due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

This month, the company lowered its starting price to $299.99 to attract more customers.

Meta said it would also boost the Quest 2's performance in coming updates, with its central processing unit performance expected to surge by 26 per cent and its graphics processing unit speed by 19 per cent.

Meta bought VR start-up Oculus for more than $2 billion in 2014 to strengthen its position in the industry.

Meta’s Quest Pro

Released in October, Meta’s Quest Pro aims to attract high-end and professional customers as Meta founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg touted it to the media as a “work-focused” device.

In March, the company reduced the price of the high-end Quest Pro by a third to $1,000, from $1,500, to make the device more accessible.

Meta’s Quest 3

Last week, Mr Zuckerberg announced that the Quest 3 would be launched later this year. Priced at $499.99, the device will have higher resolution, better performance and a slimmer, more comfortable form factor, the company said.

The Quest 3 will be compatible with the Quest 2 catalogue of more than 500 VR games, apps and experiences, it said.

Meta described the Quest 3, which will have both VR and MR capabilities, as its “most powerful headset yet”.

ByteDance’s Pico 4

Launched in October, Pico’s new XR headset comes with motion-sensing technology.

The closest competitor of Meta’s Quest, the Pico 4 tracks eye movement and translates it into insights that can be used for various applications.

The company reportedly sold about 500,000 units in 2021, missing its initial target of a million devices.

TikTok parent company ByteDance acquired VR hardware start-up Pico in 2021 to compete with Meta's Quest.

Sony's PlayStation VR 2

Launched in February, Sony's PlayStation VR 2 is a cabled headset that needs to be plugged into a PS5 to work.

It comes with a sense technology that brings “emotion and immersion to life through subtle headset vibrations, 3D audio technology and intelligent eye-tracking, combined with finger touch detection”, the company said.

The headset alone starts at $550, and users have to shell out another $500 to purchase the PS5 console.

HTC Vive XR Elite

Announced in January, HTC Vive XR Elite is a lightweight device that can be used for gaming, as well as fitness activities.

Starting at $1,099, the headset offers users their own personal screen of 300 inches. They can gain access to content from services such as Netflix and Disney+ or games such as Fortnite, and can also connect a Bluetooth controller to their phone to play games.

Apple’s Vision Pro

Apple unveiled its long-awaited augmented-reality headset, the Vision Pro, on Monday.

With its starting price at $3,499, Vision Pro aims to blend digital content with the physical world, while letting users stay present and connected to others.

It creates a canvas for apps that scales beyond the boundaries of a traditional display and introduces a fully three-dimensional user interface controlled by the user’s eyes, hands and voice.

Featuring visionOS, the world’s first spatial-operating system, Vision Pro lets users interact with digital content in a way that feels like it is physically present in their space, the company said.

Updated: June 09, 2023, 9:00 AM