Less than 48 hours after Meta fully unveiled Quest 3, John Carmack, legendary programmer and former CTO of Oculus, expressed doubts about mixed reality’s ability to increase headset sales.

Carmack departed Meta late last year, concluding what he called at the time his “decade in VR.” Still, it’s clear the key cohort in Oculus’ genesis story has a lot to offer when it comes to all things XR.

While Carmack doesn’t mention Quest 3 by name, it’s fairly clear he’s talking about Meta’s first consumer mixed reality headset, having tweeted a message of skepticism about the headset-selling power of MR apps:

“I remain unconvinced that mixed reality applications are any kind of an engine for increasing headset sales. High quality pass through is great, but I just don’t see applications built around integrating rendering with your real world environment as any kind of a killer app. I consider it interesting and challenging technology looking for a justification. The power of VR is to replace your environment with something much better, not to hang a virtual screen in your real environment. In all the highly produced videos demonstrating the MR future, the environments are always stylish, clean, and spacious. That is not representative of the real world user base. There is certainly some value in the efforts, but I have always thought there was much more low hanging fruit to be grabbed first.”

Photo by Road to VR

In a follow-up tweet, Carmack maintains he’s not criticizing the future of augmented reality, but rather how MR-capable VR headsets are being served up today:

“I am specifically talking about MR in todays [sic] VR headsets. The magical, all-day wear, full FOV AR headsets of people’s dreams would be great, but they don’t exist, even in labs with billions of dollars.”

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Meta announced relatively few MR games for Quest 3 at its full unveiling last week, emphasizing that 50+ new VR games are coming by the end of this year, many of which will feature “MR features” of some sort.

Still, increasing headset sales to rival Quest 2 ought to be a big focus for Meta, as the company revealed at Connect 2023 that it had just broken $2 billion in Quest game and app revenue to date.

While impressive, it signifies a dramatic slowing of content sales over the past year, putting Quest 3 in the metaphorical hot seat to continue the upward trend if Meta intends on defending its $4 billion-per quarter investments in its Reality Labs XR division.

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  • Dragon Marble

    Like its predecessors, Q3 continues to break new grounds in XR. For people playing Eleven Table Tennis, Thrill of the Fight etc., MR is going to be another untethering experience. They can finally let go and not fear bumping into furniture. For people having multiple headsets in the household, it breaches a main friction point in VR: isolation. I am excited for MR.

    • mirak

      As Carmack said, the space will be even more an issue.

      Imagine you want to play ping pong in MR, you will need the space of a whole ping pong table to project the whole table.

      • Dragon Marble

        You only need half of the table to be inside your play space unless two are playing in the same room and you want to see each other in real life. In other words the space requirement is the same; the only difference is that you can see the real world too.

        Yes, exactly how MR is going to work in each case is not clear yet. But I can already imaging lots of possibilities.

        • mirak

          If there is a real wall or a real shelf at the distance of the virtual net of the table, you will have perception and depth issue, obviously, because it’s not blocked out of your view like in VR.

          You will want to simulate playing through the wall, and that’s what VR just does perfectly already.

          There are really fun applications though like a shooter in the open air, but this require space again.

          • Dragon Marble

            No, you can open up a portal on the wall, to your opponent’s virtual living room, for example. But you still see your real room. Remember, it’s “mixed” reality. You have the power to change the world.

            Of course, people having bigger place can have a fuller experience — for example, having the ball bouncing off real objects. But small place space can work too.

          • mirak

            Yes, MR can do what VR does, but it will not be a game changer for people with small space who will need to always virtualise bigger rooms.

            And this people are the vast majority of people, and therefore few people will benefit from it, that’s what Carmack said.

            In the long run when you can virtualise anything like a monitor or a huge screen, with simple glasses, then I agree, but we are from that yet.
            That’s basically what Carmack says in fact.

          • Dragon Marble

            MR is even more important for small spaces, because you are more likely to bump into things without it.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            The real benefits of MR for people with small spaces will not be blending VR into reality, but instead blending reality into VR.

            The current guardian system is basically a wall from floor to ceiling, so your play space in VR is limited by you actual free space. But for your virtual ping pong table, you only need the air space above that table, so your living room table or sofa can actually stay.

            With the depth sensor in the Quest 3, the HMD can now create a real time 3D map of the room, so instead of popping up the immersion breaking guardian whenever you are stretching out your arms to reach that ball, it can let you wave your hands above the sofa and only pop up when your feet are getting so close that you might stumble. This can effectively extend your play space by an arm’s length in every direction, which for those with tight spaces can be huge.

            And if this is implemented in a clever way, a game can actually know where there are obstacles in your play field, and consequently place the virtual ping pong table so that it stands exactly over the center of your real table. So unless you try to walk through your ping pong table, you will never see the guardian warning you, and if it does, it could do so in a much less obstructive way by only fading in the passthrough of the table or show box in its place when you get too close. Having a semi-transparent wireframe box occasionally popping up in your VR world is a lot less immersion breaking than the VR world being replaced by your actual room whenever you reach out with your arms too far.

        • *sigh* ….
          That isn’t the point, Einstein.
          He said it in plain clean English.
          What are you not getting??
          With VR, you need predisely ZERO space.
          In AR & MR, you need the room to “project” the image.
          He said it in plain clean English.
          What are you missin??

        • Nevets

          Actually I’m not sure your imagination is serving you quite as well as you think.

          • Dragon Marble

            I’ll refer you to Christian’s reply about another use case of MR that people may not be thinking about: smart guardian. We should open our mind for MR. It’s a lot more than fishtank on your wall.

      • Cl

        Always find a way to make room for a beerpong table, so if people really want to do it, they will make room. Needing room to do it is just nitpicking.

      • Octogod

        You can simply scale the MR ping pong table to best suit your environment. Meta showed this in action last week.

        • Nevets

          This is the most relevant reply to this issue.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        Well, it’s not really true, one could use part of your room, and where the wall starts it could do a hole in the wall through VR.

      • Nevets

        Just get a virtual pinball machine instead.

    • Mike

      the isolation is the biggest selling point for me. I can get away when I can’t get away. the appeal of any vr headset for me is going to a different world, not to paint crap on top of my existing one. different strokes for different folks.

      • Garhert

        That’s why Quest Ventura is coming next year.

      • Dragon Marble

        MR will help you escape too, through, for example, a less intrusive guardian, or matching you virtual seat with your real couch.

  • Rudl Za Vedno

    I agree with Carmack 100% on this one. He also said in some older interview, that what would sell headsets would be mainsteam hit games like Doom ethernal getting full VR support on regular basis. Again 100% agree on this point too. You can have incredible piece of tech that will rot on shelves if there’s no awesome apps to lure people into VR world.

    • Garhert

      We might get these kind of hit games on the Quest 3 or with the next generation. We’ll see how well Bulletstorm will work and look like.

      • Cless

        Hmm… maybe, but I doubt it. I think we will need to wait 1 more generation after the next one.

        With the future Q4, if its a device of equal price than now and improves about the same %, which would be expected. We would have around a 1060 worth of GPU, which would put us back in 2016’s gen 1 PCVR graphics. Which checks out since currently they are around 1 decade behind in GPU power as well.

        Maybe with the “Q5” gen we will see stuff like we could have stuff to the fidelity level of a PS4 at VR resolutions.

        • Garhert

          I agree, if you compare it purely based on GPU power. But Bulletstorm will run on the Quest 3 and probably requires a 1060 on PC. Yes, graphics and textures (i.e. fidelity level) will not be the same, but it will still run on a standalone headset. Some hit games are cool even with less details.

        • JanO

          There are a lot of graphics snobs in the VR community. By the time Q5 ships, console and PC gamers will be treated with almost true to life graphics and the song will remain the same… There are already great GAMES on standalone VR, but most people only get to see screenshots that just can’t compare to the ones produced by console or PC.

          I’ve been a tech nerd for over 30 years and the graphics comparison has always been an issue. To me, most modern games aren’t made to be played, they are made to be seen, just look at how many youtube channels present gameplay videos and how popular this is. Personally, I lost interest…

          This is why I turned to VR. Here, we are beginning again and it’s “new game mechanics exploration time” which is where things get interesting again. Yes, some flat games are great candidates for VR, but this isn’t true for all games and is only part of the true potential VR has to offer.

          Sadly Meta has a hard time figuring out how to market the Quest platform and their desire to push this to the masses is happening too early and mostly backfires… As JC said there are obvious lower hanging fruits to be harvested before we get to an “iPhone” moment. For now they should focus on what “is” and keep what “could be” in their labs… And out of the marketing push.

          Microsoft showed tablets first, but Apple waited until it was actually appealing and lokk how things went…

          • Arno van Wingerde

            Well, I care about graphics quality, even if that makes me a snob. Remember the “R” in VR? You seem to confuse VR with VC (virtual comics). If it fine with me if you are happy with cartoon graphics, but please accept that there are also people that enjoy being a a virtual reality, without labelling them snobs: I do not call you a game-snob either.

          • JanO

            I’m not gonna start playing on words. Just like you, I enjoy great graphics, but that doesn’t mean they ALWAYS have to be realistic. Remember the V in VR.

            My comment was more about the crowd that endlessly complain about the graphics, even when the actual gameplay is gold.

            To me gameplay > graphics.

            And VR offers new possibilities for gameplay, more so than for graphics…

            Sure, it’s best when one complements the other, but I will always prefer a good game over just another pretty face.

        • Arno van Wingerde

          It may even be longer than that: GPU performance per Watt has not gone up that much. I think the future is either cloud based or with a wireless connection, could even be a dedicated connection to a local “PC” of some form. A PS5 uses 200-300 W… versus 5-7 W for a Quest2.

    • Mradr

      Well yes and no – what kept me out of VR for a while was the hardware it self. The long delays in hardware upgrades and the two step forward one step backwards kept me from wanting to jump back into Meta hardware for a while.

    • nullcodes

      Agreed. Pass thru AR makes no sense, not until the form factor is like sunglasses or goggles. A while back Carmack said headset resolution doesn’t really matter .. THAT, I disagree with.

  • Shafqat

    XR is a fantastic technology but we are expecting miracles from it . it cant be 1 SIZE FITS ALL.
    Presently majority of Apps cater for socialization, entertainment and gaming etc. We need to focus on work related apps as well. Architecture, Interior design, Surgery, Arts, Manufacturing, Training, education etc are some hot areas where it become indispensable.
    In todays world, An architect cannot work without CAD & 3D software. Soon he will find VR indispensable for him.
    There is a great marketing gap between potential users and VR GROUP. I am from a 3rd world country, working with VR since 6 years. I recently spentb3 months in London and found general public as poorly informed as in an undeveloped country.
    I daily carried my Quest on underground and amused people, who have never used it before

  • ViRGiN

    Said by the guy who didn’t see potential in 6DOF controllers, while using vr nearly exclusively to play beat saber.

    MR wont be revolution from day 1, just like VR wasn’t. But now it’s almost finally here, and now developers will have actual device to target. The only way to experience MR was through looking at phone screen.

    • Lucidfeuer

      You sometimes forget you’re a nobody of the worst kind, a parasitic shill, so your remark is funny.

      • ViRGiN

        You sometimes forget you’re a nobody of the worst kind, a parasitic shill, so your remark is funny.

        • Lucidfeuer

          I am but that’s irrelevant, we’re talking about you, there’s always a room for critics, naysayers, unsatisfied haters alongside constructive, informative people, but you, especially if you’re young, you’re a particular kind of parasite to be a shill to the worst company. I mean even for consoles, but it’s understandable, here…I’m flabbergasted

      • polysix

        He’s an absolute dolt. His avatar says it all.. just how deluded one fanboy can get is ridiculous.

        Carmack is right btw.

        • ViRGiN

          And you named yourself six cause you don’t get any sex? Sounds like a virgin to me.

    • JanO

      Devs have had the opportunity to look into MR app design since the Quest 1. While I agree the Q3’s passthrough is more desirable, Carmacks comment is more about the right set of priorities for a device that intends to remain affordable and mainstream… If Meta had put in less MR focussed hardware, we could have had a better VR headset, better screens, resolution, etc.

  • Dragon Marble

    In your example MR is more compelling if some or all of the team members are in the same physical space. Even if everyone is remote, you still want to be able to grab that coffee cup and keep an eye on your pet.

    • I disagree.
      That’s the who,e point of “defying distance”:
      people can be standing in front of you no matter *where * they are.

  • eadVrim

    It is difficult to judge Mixed Reality before experiencing it in reality, but I thing it will have great potential specialy in local multiplayer games, photogrammetry teleportation chat and volumetric holographic videos.

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    AR will be fantastic when it becomes small enough to become glasses – fulfilling the dream of google glasses. When Sergey Brin demoed the Google glass over 10 years ago, he was showing the world a dream – that was too ahead of it’s time. The dream was waiting for the tech to catch up.



    youtube dot com/watch?v=5R1snVxGNVs

    

This is not a just a tech for home use like Apple Vision or many AR devices today – the ultimate dream is to replaced the smartphone eventually and become a super-hero like Iron-man with HUD that reveals everything around you in a seamless way.

  • Herman A Schultz

    There are all sorts of compelling cases for the Corporate world. Think assembly plants (autos, planes, electronics, etc.) and AR can point you to the proper parts bin and then to the place and orientation to install the part.

    Same for builders and machinists and anyone who needs drawings.

    Police would just need to look at a license plate on a vehicle and then the driver’s license to scan it for background checks.

    And, all of these use cases at work makes the users more open to cases where it might help them in their personal lives giving them information on what they are looking at when hiking, in museums, walking tours, etc.

    • Nevets

      Yep. Police will be able to cut out the ask for id and just get straight to the arrest. What a time to be alive!

  • Cl

    It’s a good means to an end. Now they have more of a reason to make content for it which will only help for when we get glasses AR.

  • Octogod

    People buy a HMD to try amazing games and experiences. It’s the lure of being mesmerized by new technology. With Quest 3, VR is the draw, MR is the bonus.

    That said, Carmack has a long history of being completely wrong about what consumers want in software. He hasn’t had a single hit in 20+ years. His focus should be on the technical implementation, not on predicting consumer demand.

  • Cl

    Lol. Just because we don’t have it now, it’s impossible? That’s silly.

    • ViRGiN

      LEAVE VALVE SHILLS ALONE!!!

      He is clearly waiting for bradley to dissect steamvr 2.0 new gui code to find secret easter eggs, confirming valve is working on best vr the world has ever seen

    • JanO

      Realistically, all day stylish glasses are more than a decade away…
      Of course, we have to start looking into it, but for a consumer product..?

      I don’t think many people will put on the Q3 to look at a weather widget anchored on the wall…

    • No.
      What’s silly is your wrong intepretation.
      I’m not saying just because we don’t have
      AR glasses *now* means there never will be ….
      I AM saying AIO AR glasses are physically impossible because they are.

  • Nothing to see here

    If the Quest 3 is a huge success, it will be due to those pancake lenses. I tried one at Best Buy last Friday and the Quest 3 is easily the best looking VR display I have tried thus far. The sweet spot is MASSIVE. Sony should be planning an update for the PSVR2 with pancake lenses. I don’t think I will be able to use it after being spoiled by the Quest 3. Oh and I was using eye glasses when I tried it. With those Zenni Optical inserts, it should be even more amazing.

    • Garhert

      Never tried a Pico 4 I guess? Well, the lenses from Meta are hopefully better. I’m using a Pico 4 since launch and pre-ordered a Quest 3. No PC VR, only standalone.

      Sony cannot simply change the lenses because they’re using OLED. But OLED has better black levels and colors compared to LCD. The first standalone headset with pancake lenses and micro OLED will be the Apple Vision Pro.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Why cannot you combine OLED with pancake lenses? Yes, you lose some brightness, but gain clarity/black levels/color quality, that would be a deal I would be willing to make…

        • Garhert

          True, you can of course. But you would probably have around 30-45 nits with pancake lenses compared to the 265 nits of the PSVR2 with fresnel lenses. According to Brad Lynch you still have 60 nits when you turn the brightness on your PSVR2 to 0%.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          You don’t just lose some brightness, you lose up to 90% of the brightness with pancake. And while you can crank up the backlight of a LCD, it is not that easy to crank up the power of the self illuminated OLED. OLED panels like those used in the PSVR 2 work quite different from both LCD and the micro-OLED displays used e.g. in the AVP.

          In an LCD, color filters sit in front of a homogenous, white backlight, with the color display achieved by controlling the liquid crystal filters and removing some of the white light using the phase of the light. Max brightness depends on the backlight, contrast on how well the filters work.

          In an OLED panel, a lot of dots based on organic compounds are emitting photons themselves. Controlling brightness on each of them individually, incl. turning them off, leads to the great contrast and total blacks, but also means max brightness is limited by the physics of each individual pixel. OLED panels emit light in all directions, allowing for a wide viewing angle, compared to LCD that only let through light waves going into a specific direction.

          In micro-OLED, there is a backplane out of individual white OLEDs, sitting behind fixed color filters. These color filters waste less light than those in an LCD, which throws away part of the light to control brightness, while on micro-OLED varying brightness is achieved by controlling the single OLED elements in the backplane. On top of the color filters usually sits a collimating lens that sends most of the light straight forward to the eye, compared to going in all directions in OLED panels for phone or TVs. Great for a flexible viewing angle, but most of the light will therefore never hit the eye, making the OLED panel based on the same physical principle appear significantly dimmer.

          You of course can combine OLED with pancake, it will just not be a good experience, because you are now pairing a display that’s rather dim due to sending light into all directions with an optic system that achieves magnification with a set of reflections and refractions based on the direction of the light, losing most of it in the process. You could create a OLED panel with a layer of collimating lenses, but there is no need for it for use in e.g. phones that benefit more from a large viewing angle and aren’t looked at through very inefficient lenses. And for VR it makes more sense to go directly for micro-OLED, which also gives you a much smaller size.

    • polysix

      It’s crap compared to my Quest Pro which already has those lense and MUCH better quality screens with 30% BETTER COLOUR GAMUT and Local dimming for decent black levels.

      Q3 screens are the same trash as Q2.. only the lenses have improved (and the resolution of course but that’s not even important when you have posterized colour sapping panels and grey blacks).

      If you think Q3 is the best you’ve seen you should see QPRO on PCVR at 1.5x ss with LD on… it’s like Q3 on steroids. The resolution is neither here nor there at this point.

      • JanO

        How much all of this cost again?
        I’d argue there’s always a point of diminishing returns…

        • Arno van Wingerde

          Absolutely, but for people unwilling to pay more, there is always the very capable Quest2. Quest3 as an upgrade of the Quest2 only makes sense if the difference is large enough.

          • JanO

            I was refering to the price difference of his PCVR setup and Qpro, compared to the Q3…

            But if we’re talking about Q3 vs Q2, I’m disapointed by the Q3 value proposition… My Q2 is a 256GB model and is already full to the point of having to uninstall/reinstall games all too often…. At 500usd, I expected the Q3 having 12Gig RAM & 512GB storage…

            Red Matter 2 nearly doubled in size in its latest update…

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Maybe we should wait until we have actually seen the thing? I fear you are right about the black level though. I keep hoping that it has at least improved over the Quest2. Since that has about the worst blacks I have ever seen, that should be doable, otherwise even for all the other improvements, it might be returned rather quickly…

    • Nevets

      How much better was the resolution?

  • Lucidfeuer

    MR is for utility and lifestyle, the technology and ergonomics for which are far from ready. You can blame Meta (amongst others) for stalling the whole development of integrated MR which was and obvious absence from the beginning.

    • ViRGiN

      You’re by far the scumiest individual of this website, imagine being a shill for Valve AND PICO on top of that, wow

      • Lucidfeuer

        Nah I don’t like Valve and Pico, while promising, is not a major player yet either

  • MeowMix

    Should be noted Carmack also downplayed the importance of the Pancake lenses and thought the XR2Gen2 was too expensive (both of these contribute to the higher Quest3 cost). See last year’s Connect talk.

    • Bob

      “Should be noted Carmack also downplayed the importance of the Pancake lenses”

      I’m not too bothered to watch the video of that Connect talk however it would be appreciated if you could elaborate on this.

      Pancake is a natural progression from fresnel so it doesn’t make any sense for him to downplay its importance. It’s an evolutionary change required for optics for the benefit of clarity, and smaller form factors.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Pancakes are not necessarily a natural progression of Fresnel, more of an expensive step to the side bought at much higher energy costs for the display. A lot of their problems are due to the more complex light path, with the coating of the lenses using light polarization to control reflection. There is only so much you can do to optimize that, and we would need light sources emitting polarized light to not lose most of the energy by default.

        So pancake lenses may turn out to be an evolutionary dead end that may one day have to be replaced by something like holographic lenses getting their coherent light via wave guides from lasers that still have to be shrunk a lot to even try that. Fresnel lenses still have their place, and Sony has proven that you can get rid of many of their downsides like god rays with an improved lens design. The PSVR2 lenses cannot provide the same clarity as pancakes, but Fresnel lenses provide a number of other benefits. And since HMD design is always about balancing features and costs and making compromises, I’d expect a 2024 Meta HMD for USD 200 to still feature (significantly improved) Fresnel lenses, and actually sell a lot more than the Quest 3 at 250% its price.

  • He’s right. There’s no big use case for MR in a consumer headset at the moment, and most of the content using it is a gimmick.

    • ViRGiN

      Show me all those MR consumer headsets at the moment.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      That is not really what he said. He does see value and use cases in MR, he just doesn’t think that these provide enough benefit for Meta to use MR as the main selling point for the Quest 3. It’s a convenience feature, not a killer feature, and improving some of the glaring deficits of the Quest may have benefitted them more than adding expensive new tech and features. His comments are about increasing headset sales, where MR is basically a nice addition, but it should have been at position five or ten on their priority list, not at the top spot.

    • namekuseijin

      VR is a gimmick, so it’s a fine addition…

  • polysix

    I agree with Carmack, it’s just another move away from REAL VR (PCVR) and along with the potato GFX of standalone VR it’s another gimmicky side-show rather than addressing PROPER VR here and now.

    Of course we know META’S long game so it’s no surprise but it has very little to do with top quality VR gaming or even immersion and everything to do with numbers for the eventual ‘meta-verse’.

    • ViRGiN

      you sound like you worship praydog twice a day

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      You are not at all agreeing with Carmack, who a big supporter of mobile VR and would have liked to see efforts first go into a number of easy to realize technical improvements, instead of adding MR technology that doesn’t really benefit most current VR games. His argument is not at all that they should drop mobile and focus on PCVR, he wants them to make mobile VR better instead of adding non essential features, so that there will be even less need for a powerful PC.

      Just because you have a single minded focus on high fidelity graphics over everything else does not mean that everybody criticizing MR or other technologies agrees that PCVR is the only or even best way, and that everything else should be scrapped. Quite the opposite actually, if you look at real market and usage numbers.

  • Nevets

    As a tech demo and nothing more, imagine being able to walk into your wardrobe and see the entrance to Narnia, complete with fauns.

  • Jeremiah Tothenations

    I have really enjoyed my Quest 2, but I doubt I’ll ever give Meta my money again, I’m instead putting my hope in Valve’s standalone headset, they are a company I can support.

    • mirak

      Valve wants to do a standalone headset that run unmodified PC games, like the steamdeck.

      Considering how steamdeck struggles to run games in 1000×800, it’s probably 3 or 4 years away to have something satisfying enough in VR.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        At the current speed of GPU performance development, AMD APUs with the performance envelope of the Steam Deck’s Van Gogh should hit PCVR entry level performance in late 2024.The Deckard will almost certainly come with eye tracking and ETFR support that could speed up pretty much all VR games based on OpenVR or OpenXR due to their control over SteamOS rendering.

        And the 800p display resolution of the Steam Deck severely limits the usability of the system wide FSR integration that can be applied to any game thanks to their Linux based Gamescope compositor. A VR HMD with a much higher resolution could benefit significantly from the integration of modern upscaling, esp. in combination with eye tracking not only allowing to control render resolution in different areas, but also identifying areas in the periphery where frame generation will be enough, so even rendering at a lower resolution could be skipped.

        Entry level PCVR GPU performance on a Valve Deckard should therefore allow for a much higher game performance than e.g. streaming from a PC with comparable specs to a Quest 2 would. So we could/should see an X86 based Valve headset capable of running unmodified PCVR games in a satisfying way sooner than 3 or 4 years.

        • Recent speculation seems to suggest they might release *something* soon. Which makes you wonder, if it is a headset (which it technically might not), what they’re overall strategy would be given the state of the hardware limitations today.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            I’ve seen the data mining results showing a lot of sudden activity. And Valve all of a sudden fixing most of the problems that have bugged Linux SteamVR users for years also hints that they are now focusing on Deckard, and something happening soon. But “soon” in Valve time can still be a long time.

            I doubt that they would bother to rain into Meta’s Quest 3 launch parade, or would want to have an announcement get dragged under in the battle of advertising campaigns that Sony and Meta will probably launch to get the PSVR2 or Quest 3 into the top spot on as many Christmas wishlists as possible.

            Just from a strategic point of view, I don’t see Valve announcing anything before early 2024, esp. if the product would not be available shortly after. The Index was announced in April 2019 and shipped two months later. The Steam Deck was announced mid July 2021, with pre-orders staring one day later, and first shipments planned five months later, just before Christmas, which was later delayed until February 2022. So people waited at least eight months for their Steam Deck, and due to the preorders being completely overrun and limited production capacity, some waited for a year.

            The Steam Deck’s Van Gogh APU is actually exclusive to Valve, and AMD gave them access to an RDNA 2 based mobile APU first, with others getting APUs with 15-45W TDP in early 2022, and ultra low power APUs with less than 15W like in the Steam Deck in November 2022. If you combine Valve avoiding any announcements till early 2024 to avoid Meta and Sony and the actual release of the device following several months after the announcements, you end up in the second half of 2024. Which would match the projected APU development with VR entry level GPU performance in late 2024, if Valve again gets early access to AMD’s latest ultra low power APUs. Still rather soon, as in there would an announcement within a few months, and very soon in Valve time.

      • Jeremiah Tothenations

        Still curious about it, if it’s not very good then I’ll stick with Quest 2 till something worthy comes out.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Carmack is just reading the room. Pass through AR will have its use cases eventually. The problem is the same problem Facebook keeps having: No software. Nothing to sell the hardware. Carmack is just looking for a headset that captures the imagination just like Nintendo does with their hardware, controllers and software. Quest 3 is launching with nothing. And no exclusive content until next year. So, the headset is head back by Quest 2.

    Wireless gets played up a lot. Room scale gaming. Facebook didn’t make any games to take advantage of room scale gaming. They improved their hands tracking. Made no games to take advantage of that. They made no augmented reality games for pass through. They released Quest Pro with eye tracking and face tracking. Made no business software for it, no face tracking content or eye tracking software to give it an edge over Quest 2 power and software.

    All we hear about is it could do this or it potentially can do that. But if the parent company isn’t leading the way with those studios and billions of dollars, then that’s a problem. You can’t wait until someone else comes up with an idea you as a parent company should be coming up with.

    Sony built the Dual Shock and made games like Ape Escape to take advantage of the controller. They built Dual Sense and built a free pack in game with Astrobot to take advantage of the controller. To show others what you can do with it. 3D sound like in Returnal. Fast loading like in Rachet and Clank.

    Nintendo does the same thing. They come up with an idea for a game or a controller and run with it. Then, games like Mario and Zelda continue to take advantage of the hardware. What is Facebook making to advantage of their new controllers? Nothing. And the new Asgard’s Rath 2 doesn’t even take advantage of Quest 3 because of Quest 2.

    They better start thinking their strategy and start releasing software that defined the hardware. What killer app for pass through are they launching with? See what I mean? And for those that say, well, it will be great to use on PC. When you have to use a new device to play someone else’s content other than your own, that’s a problem. Steam VR games are not Facebook games no matter how you want to claim them and Quest content. Carmack can see the lack of focus a mile away.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      We shall see: I do not expect MR games to take over, but for instance MP with friends in one room is possible in AR, but downright dangerous in VR, unless you get avatars working. Game makers can still blend out parts of the interior that do not suit them. Also, I like the idea of being able to start a game from my room, as opposed to the home environment – just with a view on mount Everest or some thing like that.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        Yeah. We’ll just have to wait and see.

        Mix reality and AR can actually be fun. Before we got to this point, Sony dabbled in AR applications with PS Vita. And there was some cool stuff there. Even had multiplayer with others viewing the same space. But back then, you needed marked cards to give the camera somewhere to lock items or the play area to. And hold your device over that area. VR cameras don’t need cards. So, there’s an evolution there in tech.

        Sony wasn’t the only one that did AR. I’m just using that as an example. Instead of holding the device to see the game area, you now have the device right on your face in front of your eyes. I can see the potential. And I have no problem with the tech inside Quest 3.

        What I have a problem with, is that they knew that they were releasing the device in October. But there’s no big game to push their pass through agenda. That’s what Carmack is implying. He sees the potential but thinks VR should be captured as it’s already here and there’s already compelling software for VR. Like HF Alyx or Astrobot.

        What actually happened though is that Facebook moved to announce Quest 3 at the same time Apple was announcing their device. Then, when they saw what Apple was presenting, moved to counter and try to capture the same ideas and will market it as a lower priced product that does the same thing as Vision Pro. And Carmack is looking at that and thinking you got a device that does good VR. Push that and make great software for that. Developers are experienced with that.

        But right after Vision Pro presentation, Facebook upgraded the GUI, the hand tracking, etc to copy Apple and the “controllers aren’t necessary” push. If they had something compelling for pass through, it would be there at launch. But it’s not. And without getting more long winded, Asgard’s Rath 2 should have had mix reality built into it. Go from VR to reality back to VR. Maybe a boss escapes VR and enters your play area. You fight him, beat him, then go back into the virtual world to continue your adventure. Facebook just isn’t thinking. They could break that wall down like Hideo Kojima did with Psycho Mantis and the controllers trick. Or when he built a game that pushed you to go outside in the sun. Or the way AR Pokemon got everybody running around collecting Pokemon.

        If Facebook can’t think along those lines, and I’m not even a developer, I’m a gamer, then they are going to have a huge problem getting the masses to believing in their product.

  • Octogod

    Oh, you mean the graveyard of dead and failed systems?

    The only one that succeeded was the one he wasn’t involved with.

  • Cometer

    I agree. Mixed reality adds possibilities but it is not enough to drive sales.
    Right now most people that would buy a VR headset have bought it already. Most people bought the Quest 2 in fact.
    In my opinion Quest 3 wont’t sell as well as Quest 2 because even though its a step up when compared to the Quest 2 its not enough of a step up.

    Once you put on the headset you need to feel that visuals are much better than what you tried.before. Features matter a lot at this time. The Lack of face tracking, foveated rendering or a higher end OLED display with HDR support makes the Quest 3 feel more like a Quest 2+ for both existing and new customers. Don’t get me wrong . AR is definitively needed. But it’s not enough to convince people if there is no meaningful visual upgrade in scenarios as simple as watching a movie.

    The Quest 2 strategy made more sense because at the time it was a big leap on all fronts. A device that could do it all at a decent quality convincing both enthusiasts with powerful PCs and the mainstream casual users to check VR out.

    What they need as their next product is :

    – A game that shows the Device true capabilities both in mobile and PCVR mode. Asgard Wrath 2 could have been the perfect game to showcase this. PCVR has progressed in the last few years with the latest tech such as DLSS 3 and FSR3 making VR games even more immersive.
    – Foveated rendering, OLED or similar, HDR and eye tracking all helping deliver the extra eye candy in both mobile and PCVR format truly showing the visual progress since Quest 2 came out.
    . Mixed reality as the cherry on top.

    I see the benefits of Mixed reality but VR is much more important. Why? Because when watching any content you don’t want things like sunlight to impact your enjoyement.

    The fact is Meta Quest 3 can barely compete with the visual quality of PSVR 2 . That means the enthusiast market will wait for something better to come out in the future.
    For most of the mainstream, well the Quest 2 is enough.

    A device with all the features is simply too expensive for now and that’s why Meta launched the Quest 3 in its current format.
    i completely understand their decision to follow this path since they don’t want to lose the race for VR+AR and if they don’t make it clear they can offer a decent AR experience at a good price point they might get behind in developer support while Apple gets all the market attention with a headset that is simply a tech showcase out of the reach of most people.

    Between the Quest 2 and the Quest 3 there isn’t enough of a leap to justify their current customers to upgrade. And that is going to hurt sales a lot.
    End result is most will wait for Quest 4 or Quest 5.

  • Jim Cherry

    the low hanging fruit is higher than you think John