Meta Reportedly Wants to Create a VR Gaming Subscription
Meta might be working on a VR version of Xbox Game Pass and similar video game subscriptions for its Quest line of VR headsets. If true, a well executed Meta “Quest Pass” could be a boon for its struggling hardware line and signal Meta’s growing role as gaming company.
Take It with a Grain of Salt
Codenamed “Project Apollo,” the service would offer subscribers two new games or apps a month. These reports should be taken with a grain of salt, given that they’re only based on a references in the Meta Quest app; additionally, a struggling Meta has been axing projects left and right in recent months. The concept does, however, seem sensible enough.
Starved for Content
Meta has had great success selling its VR headsets, to the tune of over 20 million Quest headsets to date – about three-quarters were its well received Quest 2. But there's been difficulty in keeping Quest users engaged and gaming. In a recent internal presentation, Meta's Mark Rabkin noted that “newer cohorts that are coming in, the people who bought it this last Christmas, they’re just not as into” using their headsets. In other words, Meta has sold millions of hardware units without the necessary content and games to keep them from gathering dust.
Worse, this lack of killer apps and titles is impacting new sales. After bumping the $399 256GB Meta Quest 2 to $499 in July, Meta recently reversed course and dropped it down to $430. Similarly, the $1,499 Meta Quest Pro just got a price cut to $999 – less than six months after launch. There's also the specter of Sony's newly launched PlayStation VR 2 headset. Clearly, Meta overplayed its hand and consumers aren't buying up enough headsets. In the larger picture, Meta's VR division is bleeding money to the tune of $13.7 billion in operating losses against a comparatively measly $2.16 billion in income.
Buying Itself Some Time
Even if Quest Pass is a hit with headset owners, it’s no silver bullet. Gaming subscriptions require quality games and services, and it’s not clear that enough exists. Sony and Microsoft’s subscriptions, for example, are partly propped up by AAA titles from established in-house developers. Meta has started investing in its own VR game studios, but it’s a long way from having its own Naughty Dog or Bethesda. Conversely, indie devs and smaller outfits stand to benefit the most from the visibility that comes with a subscription service. For Meta, at the very least, a VR subscription service would recoup some of their costs through subscribers who sign up and forget to cancel.
Featured Image: Meta