Amid ongoing criticism over its VR development, and its capability more broadly to actually build the next stage of digital connection, Meta will be looking to silence its critics (at least, some of them) with a new showcase of its next-level technologies at its 2022 Connect Conference, which will be held on October 11th.
Meta’s expected to present a range of new AR and VR innovations at the event, while attendees will also be able to ‘experience creativity unleashed in the metaverse’.
Whatever that means.
As per Meta:
“Meta Connect is a one-day virtual event that explores the building of the metaverse and the future of augmented and virtual reality. Industry leaders will share the latest technologies and developer sessions will cover how to use them. Our goal is to bring the world closer together and deepen human connection through new experiences.”
Among the various elements, Meta’s expected to showcase its new ‘Cambria’ advanced VR headset, which will utilize higher resolution image quality than its current Quest units, while it will also enable the wearer to view their real-world surroundings using outward-facing cameras, to facilitate all new mixed-reality experiences.
Cambria has been in development for more than a year, with Meta first previewing the unit last October.
The idea is that this will help to take Meta’s metaverse experience to the next stage, which, from a technical perspective, makes sense – you can’t provide a high-end digital experience without high-end technology. The flip-side, however, is that this advanced experience could also be hindered by lower take-up, with current projections pricing the unit at around $1000, versus the $399 you’ll pay for a Quest 2 headset.
If Meta wants the metaverse to truly be the next plain of digital connection, broad adoption is key, and as such, pricing considerations like this will play a significant part. But global supply challenges have also played a role. Meta has already been forced to up the price of its Quest 2 units by $100 this year.
We’ll likely get more detail on this at the event.
Meta will also be looking to show off the true capacity of its VR experiences, after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was recently lambasted online for this announcement post.
Zuckerberg followed that post up with an announcement that 'major updates' to Horizon and avatar graphics would be coming soon, likely at Connect, and it’ll be interesting to see how the company addresses this aspect – as in, whether it simply reverts back to showing off highly edited and animated video examples of what’s coming – like this:
Or whether it will present actual, in-world digital experiences, which demonstrate the full capacity of its VR vision.
Because right now, faith in the ‘metaverse’ is waning. It’s worth reiterating that the metaverse, as a concept, does not actually exist yet, with respect to there being a fully interactive, cross-platform, open-world type digital environment, where users can conduct all sorts of activities and processes in all new ways.
The level of cross-company cooperation required alone is a mammoth undertaking, and it’ll take years before we’re even close to having a useable model for the metaverse experience, as it’s been projected.
So while there’s much hype about the metaverse, and the potential of immersive digital connection, we’re not close yet – definitely not as close as some early movers would like to project.
Which is why Meta’s Connect conference this year is likely more important than ever, because despite us being a year into Facebook’s ‘Meta’ re-branding, and despite various video clips like the one above, which promise a whole new world of experiences, nothing much has changed yet.
Will it all come together, and see the formation of a new digital paradigm?
Meta’s 2022 Connect conference could be a key marker of progress.
You can learn more about Connect 22 here.