Meta today announced it’s opening its operating system to third-parties, and has named three heavy weights that have pledged support for its newly renamed Meta Horizon OS: Asus, Lenovo, and Microsoft’s Xbox.

In a blog post, Meta says it’s tapped ASUS’s Republic of Gamers to develop an “all-new performance gaming headset,” Lenovo to “develop mixed reality devices for productivity, learning, and entertainment,” and Xbox to create its own limited-edition Quest, “inspired by Xbox.”

The company hasn’t shown any of the headsets as such, but this symbolizes a monolithic shift in how the company is controlling its hardware-software stack, likening it to a more Android-style approach as opposed to Apple’s walled garden approach with iOS and Apple Vision Pro.

Admittedly, Meta doesn’t appear to be opening its OS up to just anyone, as all of the devices announced above will likely run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs, built specifically for XR. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has however said they’re working with “more” OEMs, so that list may be expanding fairly soon.

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“All of these devices will benefit from our long-term collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., which builds the Snapdragon processors that are tightly integrated with our software and hardware stacks,” Meta says in the announcement, noting that companies building hardware for this new ecosystem can also “leverage the benefits of these chipsets and custom software enhancements.”

There’s plenty of room for speculation at this point since the announcement is so sparse with details. Xbox’s pledge to create the limited-edition Quest will be interesting to watch. Although it could be just a simple branding deal, it may also be an opportunity for Xbox to use it as a nucleation site for eventually integrating XR headsets into the Xbox ecosystem—or beyond Meta’s previously added support for Xbox Cloud Gaming on Quest, which lets players play 2D virtual screen in mixed and virtual reality.

What’s more, all of the OEMs working with Meta have built VR headsets before, the most notable of which were the fleet of Windows Mixed Reality PC VR headsets released in 2017, which included manufacturers Lenovo, Asus, Samsung, Acer, HP, and Dell. Microsoft subsequently shut down the Windows Mixed Reality platform in late 2023.

Meta says it’s bringing the “Horizon social layer currently powering Meta Quest devices” to the third-party hardware in its new Horizon OS ecosystem, which comes part and parcel with the newly renamed ‘Meta Horizon’ app and Horizon Store (ex-Quest Store).

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Nevets

    Does this mean the game library will be available on these alternative peripherals?

    • Isaac

      Yes and they’ll have access to the same core software and platform services.

  • another juan

    this doesn’t make any sense: since Quest hardware is subsidized, where’s the profit for third party hardware manufacturers?

    • Blaexe

      Specialized headsets should be much better for their advertised use case than a Quest. That’d be a unique selling point.

    • Adrian Meredith

      Profit share? Presumably they can’t force them to only use metas app store long term thanks to the EU. Interested to see how “open” it really is

      • Sven Viking

        Yeah my guess is they’re giving them a commission on store sales via their hardware.

    • Only trolls hide comments

      Who gives a shit? This is a win for consumers, developers, and XR enthusiasts. Why is the financials of the participating companies even a concern of yours?

    • Arno van Wingerde

      They could diversify: for instance a e€/$1500 set with hi-res OLED.

  • Mike

    what about pimax crystal. could we finally see a purpose to their stand-alone headset.?

    • XRC

      The new Crystal models (Light and Super) are pure PCVR with no standalone function as the Qualcomm xr2 and battery has been removed.

      With their Portal handheld console also being dropped it’s probable the standalone store(that only had a dozen apps) is being quietly sunsettted.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        But this is exactly where Meta vast standalone library would help. In fact, a combo of Pimax’ oft surprising hardware with Meta’s more mature software could be a win-win.

      • Mike

        maybe but its still a viable headset and we haven’t seen what there 12k headset will have spec wise yet. they could have pcvr only and
        standalone headsets. at the same time.