Meta’s Budget VR Headset Could Signal Return to Chinese Market

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Meta is planning to release a new, more affordable virtual reality headset in China in late 2024. The company is said to have partnered with Tencent, a major video game company, for an exclusive deal to distribute the new headset. Details about the release are still being worked out, and it’s not clear whether government approval will be required for the sale of the devices in China.

The new headset is expected to be more powerful than the Quest 2, but with lower-quality optics than the Quest 3. It will be aimed at budget-conscious consumers and may also be sold in other regions. The deal would allow Meta to take a larger share of headset sales, while Tencent would benefit from content and service revenue, such as software subscriptions and game sales.

While the Chinese market offers a significant opportunity for Meta’s VR division, there are challenges to consider. China has strict rules that have already impacted Tencent, and it’s not guaranteed that the new headset will be a success in the country. Additionally, competition in the VR market is increasing, with TikTok owner ByteDance also vying for market share in China with its Pico headset.

If the deal goes through, it would mark Meta’s return to China after 14 years without a direct presence in the country. The company currently holds a 50% share of the global VR market, with Sony’s PlayStation VR2 and Pico’s VR headset in second and third place. Apple is also poised to enter the market with its Vision Pro headset, although it’s expected to launch a more affordable version in the future.