Meta Connect, the company’s annual XR developer conference, is going all-digital again this year and it promises to share updates that look into the “near and far future” of the company. While there’s still a little over two weeks to go, now the company has published the livestream session schedules, giving us a better idea of what we can look forward to.

Update (September 23rd, 2022): You can check out the full program here, but here’s a quick rundown of what the October 11th event holds:

As you’d imagine, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking the lead for the keynote, which is set to kick off Connect’s day-long event. We’re sure to get some conceptual, forward-looking stuff here to go along with some juicy nuggets on how the VR part of the company is faring—now and into the near future. Also… Quest Pro is probably on the docket, so stay tuned.

The so-called Developer State of the Union keynote is taking place afterwards, led by Anand Dass of Metaverse Content Applications, Chris Pruett of Content Ecosystem at Reality Labs, and Yardley Pohl of the VR Product dept. Here we’re supposed to learn about Meta’s “new and updated tools and programs from Reality Labs.”

There’s also over a dozen developer sessions throughout the day, spanning from how to best monetize you game to the company’s vision for its future avatars.

And to top it all off, legendary programmer and Consulting CTO John Carmack will be holding his annual unscripted chat on everything. Outside of a supposed hardware announce, Carmack’s chat is usually the highlight of the conference since it provides so much insight and history into the making of the company’s VR headsets. You can sign up for reminders here so you don’t miss out.

The original article follows below:

Original Article (September 6th, 2022): Like last year’s all-digital Connect, this year’s dev conference will include livestreaming keynotes and developer sessions, which the company says will be available on the Reality Labs Facebook page. And it’s all being boiled down into one day.

There’s no schedule out yet (see update), however the company says its one-day virtual event will explore “the building of the metaverse and the future of augmented and virtual reality.”  You can sign up for updates over at metaconnect.com for any upcoming livestreams.

We’d expect that much, but more specifically we’re hoping to learn a few key things. Topping the list is info surrounding its next VR headset, Project Cambria, or what is rumored to be dubbed Meta Quest Pro.

Image courtesy Meta, Mark Zuckerberg

On the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg let it slip that its “next device [is] coming out in October,” which suggests a Cambria launch during Connect. That would also mean we get the full info drop on the so-called Quest Pro then. Reminder: at more than $800 Cambria is likely meant for prosumers and developers looking to get their hands on a VR headset capable of AR interactions (aka ‘mixed reality’) thanks to color passthrough and built-in eye tracking.

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Whatever we see though will most certainly need top last year’s big name change if the company wants to make good on its complete rebranding, which essentially unplugged the Facebook and Oculus brand names and pivoted the company to focus more on building the metaverse.

Some other bits we’d expect in Connect 2022: Meta’s social VR space Horizon Worlds demonstrating a more definite direction, which we’d hope includes better-looking avatars and the sort of baked-in social features its VR hardware has been missing since, well, forever.

Now that Oculus…er…Meta Quest 2 has seen a price bump and the company still hasn’t delivered on its ambitious metaverse concepts, Connect 2022 may be just the place for the company to set expectations for Meta moving forward.

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  • Jay

    Wooooooo

  • sfmike

    I truly hope that some exciting news comes out of this as it really seems that VR is losing its momentum, especially in the public eye, and needs some kind of boost to get more heads in headsets. There hasn’t been any real exciting news or developments this year and it’s more than half over. It seems like we are moving backwards instead of forwards.

    • NL_VR

      Well it’s not only VR it’s about everything.

    • xyzs

      Can’t agree more. It’s so dead. 99.5 percent off the news are about rumours or next year initiatives when not even further.
      If the momentum dies, it’s because the companies do the bare minimum:
      Htc is half dead thanks to their stupid choices and disappointing products.
      Valve sells 3yo now obsolete hardware yet at full price.
      Meta after 10 years of “top notch rnd” still has a 2 years old very medium specs Quest 2 to offer.
      Pico is just doing one thing: copying Meta.
      Pimax wants to do great things but they just don’t have what it takes.

      • Engorged

        Don’t forget Microsoft and their abandonment of WMR.

        • xyzs

          Good point
          Wmr is so dead i forgot it.

          The problem with vr is that companies try to seduce everyone with a very alpha technology that is enticing to gamers only for now.
          Instead of making super gaming tech, they chose to do mediocre general purpose headset that nobody wants… it not advanced enough for gamers and to new and cumbersome for the average joe.

      • Bram

        There are several reasons for it. The global chipshortage and lockdown situation has slowed down new headsets by at least a year. Also, till quest 2 off the shelf technology and components could be used to develop and mass produce. To make the next big leap forward in VR headsets, brand new tech has to be developed and also the production-lines to efficiently mass produce that new tech has to be setup. That’s not a matter of one year but several years and requieres also huge investment. recent news told that mass production lines for high res micro oled displays will be ready in 2024. So i think we are looking at 2025 to see anything really interesting at consumer level price point.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          The problem with the chip shortage and lockdown argument is that it applies to smartphones too, and mobile VR is technologically very close to those. While everybody has been hit by supply issues, those didn’t stop Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, LG, Oppo and others from releasing new phone models.

          It may of course be the VR/XR specific development holding everything down, but it may also be the small market itself that stops more investment. Cambria/Quest Pro will most likely use a variant of the Snapdragon XR2, released in 2020 based on the then top model SD865. The main difference between them seemingly was a slightly changed power management because XR needs constant power levels without throttling compared to smartphones using short high power bursts which they can only maintain for a short time.

          Qualcomm released the SD888 in 2021 and SD8Gen1 in 2022, and both even got a mid-generation Plus version with slightly better performance. So a reconfiguration like with the SD865 should have been possible, yet there still is no XR3. I initially assumed that this was due to them being closely partnered with Meta and timing the release for a Quest 3, but the recent strategic chip alliance between Meta and Qualcomm hints that Meta were actually planing to switch to inhouse developed silicon, which didn’t work out, and are only now committing to use Qualcomm SoCs in the future.

          Meaning the XR3 wasn’t delayed to appease Meta, but because Qualcomm didn’t see a sufficient market potential to already update the XR2 that so far would have sold around 20mn units. HMD manufacturers could of course use other SoCs, but with anything released being pretty similar to Qualcomm’s reference HMD, and Qualcomm in partnership with Goertek now offering companies all they need, from the hardware to a full XR software stack including everything from an adapted Android OS to hand tracking, going a separate route would increase development costs a lot. Which may again be prohibitive in a market with small numbers making recouping any development costs hard.

          So an important reason why the progress of VR hardware seems to have slowed down so much may be that all the initial predictions about market growth turned out to be overly optimistic, and companies now reduce investment and go for multi-year cycles and a few standard components used by everybody to allow each generation to sell the required unit numbers to recoup development cost.

          • xyzs

            Agree.
            Easy to blame components and covid ( and blaming covid is hilarious since it helped the gaming sector like a lot. If anything, demand for VR increased because of covid… )

            The problem is that VR is only sexy to nerds like us with the bulky headset and required high perf for good graphics. So the market is too small with current tech to expand. Just like nobody would buy smartphones if they were bulky, low perf and full of cable for some.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            Well, your wish is Zuckerbergs command: the Cambria is already a lot sleeker and although that model is not aimed at consumers that knowledge will partly flow into future Quest designs. The main issue is more that you have to “blind” yourself in order to see the VR part. However, people were happy enough to make themselves deaf in order to enjoy their music – so who knows? The main aspect is the software, there are few AAA games/applications that would entice people to wear them.

          • Cragheart

            Recent improvements in smartphone GPUs aren’t large. I experience how ~14 teraflops is barely enough for 1440p PC gaming in decent quality. So how could ~2 teraflops smartphone chip be enough for not very pixelated VR? I don’t see that. Quest 2 games look like crap. Quest 3 games won’t look substantially better. PS VR2 is more interesting as it provides ~10 teraflops for half 4K per eye 120fps. If Meta doubles Quest 2 resolution (while still maintaining that abysmal field of view) and doubles GPU performance, it still won’t be even slightly impressive or good. At least they will make it slimmer by using pancake lenses. VR needs revolutions, not some slight improvements. Otherwise, I don’t see it becoming really popular or very important.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Year to year performance improvements from XR1/SD820 to XR2/SD865 were 32%, and even though this has slowed down to SD8Gen1, this is actually more than we see in desktop GPUs, but starting from a much lower level. Crappy looks or pixilated VR is mostly a design problem, not one of GPU performance. There are obviously a lot of things that mobile GPUs are much worse at, like lots of light sources, large amounts of independent objects, huge polygon counts. Designing and optimizing for the existing hardware is an essential game developer skill, trying to run HL:A on a current smartphone chip will not end well.

            But the SD865 Adreno 650 GPU is easily fast enough to handle the Quest 2 resolution, if you are aware of the limitations. If you go for a realistic style like Red Matter 2, you need to stick to small, closed spaces with baked lights and a few objects. If you want to go for a more open world approach, you can use a stylized, but still natural look like in Walkabout-Mini Golf, where pretty much all the objects are static and can be merged. If you want a highly interactable environment where the player manipulates lots of items, you can pick a very cartoony style like Job Simulator. In each case the graphics style fits the experience and allows for smooth and sufficiently high resolution. If you really want or need HL:A class graphics, you either have to wait for the Valve Deckard or use/stream PCVR, but that doesn’t make the other games bad or ugly.

            This has been the same since consumer video games first showed up almost half a century ago: you can get a great experience if the game is designed to properly use the platform. Of course some people will reject anything that doesn’t match what the current top level hardware can do. But at one point Half-Life 2 required a very fast PC to provide a great experience. And just because today an office laptop or a standalone HMD can provide the same performance doesn’t make the experience itself worse than almost 20 years ago. There are a lot of great games for Quest 2, and denying that is only projecting an expectation about a minimal level of technical requirements. It is not fairly judging the experience by itself, otherwise all older games like Portal, Resident Evil 4 or Ocarina of Time would all have to be considered trash instead of continuously making it to Top 100 lists.

          • Cragheart

            Unfortunately, I can’t stand Quest 2 graphics. I just can’t. It’s impossible for me to have fun with it.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Do you feel the same about the pancake versions of Portal, Resident Evil 4 or Ocarina of Time?

          • Cragheart

            I admit I haven’t tried these particular games on Quest 2, because I tried it before they became available. But if I have to choose between 4K PC gaming and gaming on Quest 2, I always choose 4K PC gaming. Quest 2 games I’ve seen looked HORRIBLE compared to what I see on my monitor.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            That is a misunderstanding, these are all PC or Nintendo games, released between 15 and 24 years ago, all considered classics. Only RE4 got a 2021 Quest 2 remake based on a 2013 PS3 remake, and it will get another remake in 2023 for PS5/Xbox Series XS, which will also be (at least partly) playable with PSVR 2.

            I was interested if you just dislike the admittedly primitive look of most Quest 2 games compared to PC, or are generally only interested in games that utilize the latest hardware. So liking The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with its Nintendo 64/GameCube graphics, but at the same time disliking the much more polished looking Walkabout Mini Golf would be odd.

            In the end it is a question of personal preference, I liked VR games even on DK1 or Cardboard, for me the immersion from being in another space is way more important, so I mostly glance over primitive graphics. But I understand that if someone is primarily looking for something visually impressive, they might not even be able to enjoy the immersion when it is based on what looks like models from a long gone decade.

            I still think it is unfair to say that Quest 2 games look like crap, as they look a lot better than many highly treasured PC games. And how good games are depends more on gameplay, Undertale is without doubt very primitive looking and ugly, but the ratings are through the roof. IMHO Quest games also deserve a second look, but of course similar preference issues apply, with the highest rated Quest games being casual titles like puzzles and mini golf, not the thing someone into competitive shooters would be really interested in.

          • Cragheart

            How long will it take with such a very slow progress to reach 16K+ per eye 210° FoV 1000 Hz better than reality graphics (about which Gabe Newell talks about) on mobile? 100 years? Because that is the goal. With PC, you can at least move it a bit closer. But there’s ZERO progress in performance of a GPU you can get by paying $200 since 2016 and RX 480. Such anti-gamer companies are Nvidia and AMD. They would rather sell to miners.

          • ViRGiN

            who cares what gabe newell says? have you seen the dude even wearing a headset? lol

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Probably less than 20 years. The problem with high resolution and FoV is that computational requirements grow exponentially with both. We have had 2.5K per eye displays for some time, and Pimax has demonstrated that very high resolution and FoV is technically possible, most users simply don’t have access to the necessary computing power.

            Due to the exponential rising requirements this will never be solved by just adding more GPU power, improvements have to come from rendering smarter. The most prominent examples we have right now are dynamic foveated rendering with eye tracking and smart upscaling from lower resolutions, on top of established rendering optimizations like occlusion culling or object instancing, but there are more options like adapting geometry or color depth or using psychovisual phenomenons like not rendering details on things in motion that we cannot recognize anyway.

            This isn’t new, subjects like weather prediction or protein folding modeling used to improve by getting faster hardware, about a factor of 1000x per decade, but over the same time the factor from algorithmic improvements like smarter grid models was around 5000x. Software has a much higher impact, a Quest using all the optimizations available in current game engine will be able to render e.g. a forest scene faster than a RTX 3090Ti with all these optimizations turned off, because the RTX would basically waste 99% of its significantly higher performance rendering things nobody will see.

            That will allow us to get to e.g. 8K per eye @144Hz at 210* FoV in a few years. The higher display resolution will probably be the easiest part, lenses for 210° FoV without lots of distortions will be harder, the best option is probably holographic film lenses wrapped around the head driven by laser light. Meta recently demonstrated their (huge) prototypes of HMDs using holographic lenses. Whether 16K offers actual improvements remains to be see, as most of it would be in the periphery where we cannot see well at all, you could only see that many pixels within an FoV smaller than 1° when looking straight forward, so light hits the tiny fovea part of the retina.

            The 1000Hz makes no sense, as our eyes simply cannot see that. The cone cells we use for color vision can only see about 20fps, the much faster rod cells for brightness around 60fps. Brightness changes can be detected faster in the periphery of the eyes, but these are basically just “something happened” triggers to get the person to look closer. I have serious doubts that any human would be able to reliable detect a difference between a 144Hz screen and a 300Hz display in a properly set up blind test, just like most audiophiles fail to detect a difference between Vinyl, CD or high quality AAC in true blind tests. The 72Hz, 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rates we see aren’t determined by limits of the eye, but by the 24Hz frame rate of movies, allowing for synchronized display at 3*24, 5*24 and 6*24. Muting all brightness changes in the peripheral vision with eye tracking might be a much smarter solution than trying to render at 144fps.

            Raw performance increases have slowed due to technical reasons, but the 32% Qualcomm adds per year still means their GPUs will have 16x the powers compared to those from a decade ago. And the prices we had to pay lately were determined by completely different factors than technological progress, logistics and incorrect market projections had a much bigger impact there.

      • ViRGiN

        did you just say PCVR is dead?

    • Jim K

      This did not even exist 10 years ago and all ready people are calling it dead. I was a computer programmer back in the late 80’s early 90’s . If VR dies it is because people with no clue on how hard it is to invent things; demand it be done at a pace they themselves could never accomplish. Sit back and relax as people who got perfect math scores on their S.A.T. make our lives amazing.

      • Stranger

        Well said. I am %100 agree with you.

        It is not the question of “if” but “when”.

        VR is the future.

      • This ^^^

    • I think you’re not really paying much attention to the public eye, so much as you’re paying attention to your own eye. VR is doing fine in the public eye, and slowly getting better and better and more prevalent, and upcoming systems like the Pico 4, Quest Pro and Quest 3, and PSVR 2 will keep the momentum going, along with less mainstream/casual stuff like the Pimax Crystal and Pimax 12K and so on. Apple will probably have a decent impact too, although I don’t really know what they’re actually planning, so I won’t say too much on that. And I think we’re going to see quite a few exciting VR games in the next year or two, particularly from Sony and PSVR 2 developers, who generally do a great job of delivering more AAA console-type experiences for VR. The Steam VR user numbers also seem to be slowly increasing year on year too, which I expect to jump a bit more soon with the release of some of these new headsets. So, nah, I don’t see a problem.

      • ViRGiN

        pimax crystal, pimax 12k…
        curious if i people can use their coupons from plan G with option B?
        LMAO PIMAX
        it’s not launching anything anytime soon.
        but they already got the money from all the pcvr-elite desperates who were promised 100% off price of their existing other pimax headsets. Yeah that’s gonna happen. Or they will just add $1000 price to balance it out, make it zero discount anyway lol.

  • They put an image of Cambria in the press kit of the event, so for sure there will be the launch of the device…

    • Arno van Wingerde

      I guess it will be announced, but it is likely not aimed at games and such, more about AR. And really… the Quest2 is not a bad piece of hardware, but it needs high quality contents, not so much the demo type stuff sold as apps that we have today. And it probably needs streaming games, as stand alone glasses simply will be hard to improve on without battery-busting power requirements and not everybody is ready to spend 2000+ on a capable PC. Personally, I think PSVR2 may be the best option in the near future…

      • silvaring

        PSVR2 will definitely win due to its comfort and strong innovative design elements like haptic controllers and head haptics and eye tracking. The standalone headsets just might be good enough though if they can nail the hand tracking aspect and dim display issues with pancake lenses. Exciting times for sure.

        • sfmike

          I’m actually looking forward to the PSVR2 more than I am the so called Quest Pro. First rate games and graphics is something Sony seems to understand.

      • Jeremiah Tothenations

        I built a PC for £700 very recently and it runs VR very well. But I agree most Quest games are lame.

        • Cragheart

          I don’t want mobile VR to be mainstream. I want PC VR to be mainstream. It is going in the wrong direction!

          • ViRGiN

            You got that backwards. You are already playing mobile VR games on your cyberpunk capable PC.

          • Cragheart

            What games? I’m playing non-VR games in 1440p or 4K and waiting for VR to become decent enough for me to invest in it.

          • ViRGiN

            Well if you did play PCVR, then pretty much everything outside of simulators is as basic as mobile games mostly are.
            I’ve been waiting for 10 years, and it’s still not good enough software wise.

        • Cragheart

          How long will we have to wait until mobile VR headsets have the performance of an RTX 4090? I don’t know, but I know PCs will be getting them next month!

  • sfmike

    I really doubt a severely overpriced HMD is going to get that much traction in our faltering economy.

  • sfmike

    So true. Fuzzy 360° videos have done little to enthuse most viewers especially in this day of HD video.

  • Why not so much Michael Abrash in recent times? He’s had some of the best and most informative talks/presentations in all of these VR events, easily.

  • david vincent

    Do you have some good sources for 360/180 stereo videos to share ?

  • ViRGiN

    Just look at all other metaverse attempts for “enterprises” and “corporations”.
    I dont really see how beneficial it would be for this to be in VR – and i mean anything more than 180/360 2d/3d video.

    Carmack speech is just chat, so that works in VR for seeing his body language but then again, last time i think the rooms were extremely limited in access?

    I’m just going to watch it on TV while ripping a bong. Not too convinent in VR.

  • Roger Bentley

    all i care about is air bridge