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Key takeaways from Meta’s Connect 2022 event

Meta sharpens its vision for the future: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the VR stage Tuesday to define the future of the metaverse. Seeking adoption beyond games and social apps, which have been the most popular properties in VR, Meta leaned on partnerships and new hardware to push the metaverse narrative forward.

Meta Quest Pro: The new headset, which drops October 26, costs $1,500, nearly four times the cost of the Quest 2 headset it replaces.

  • The high-end headset includes eye tracking, virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) cameras for more immersive experiences and is designed for productivity and professional applications.
  • Zuckerberg sees the Meta Quest Pro as a replacement for laptops and desktop PCs as well as a creative tool—but it only has a two-hour battery life.

Our take: The Meta Quest Pro’s high price, which is comparable to a high-end or gaming PC, positions it for business users and early adopters, but poor battery life is a deterrent. 

Games are still VR’s domain: Zuckerberg kept alluding to a metaverse beyond games, but the most tangible announcements during the event were centered around VR gaming.

  • Microsoft made a surprise announcement that Xbox Cloud Gaming would be coming to Meta Quest. “You’ll be able to play 2D games with your Xbox controller projected on a massive screen on Quest,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said.
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR, Among Us VR, Population: ONE Sandbox, Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, and Behemoth are some of the titles coming this year.

Our take: While the metaverse tries to capture business users, gaming experiences are necessary to retain existing customers. Competition in gaming has intensified with more VR headsets and cloud gaming and portable consoles coming to market. 

Meta’s productivity partnerships: Microsoft, Accenture, Zoom, and Adobe were some of the partners coming up with Meta Quest integrations for their existing software solutions.

  • While this may sound exciting, it simply means being able to access 2D apps and services in 3D and VR environments through headsets.
  • Microsoft is bringing Teams and Microsoft 365 subscription services to the metaverse. These won’t be in 3D, but allow PC and VR users to interact.

Our take: For a company like Microsoft, teaming up with Meta as a platform provider allows it to focus on its software and solutions competencies without needing to develop expensive hardware.

Fragmentation in the metaverse: Hardware is the key to metaverse adoption, and Meta risks fragmenting its platform by separating consumers from business users. 

Lame VR graphics, such as avatars lacking legs (a problem Zuckerberg said he’ll soon fix in Horizon Worlds), are persistent criticisms that a pro headset could help solve, but innovation may come at too steep a price. Does Meta have enough runway to support its metaverse ambitions while sustaining its social media cash cows?

Dive deeper: Read the first note in our The Metaverse series, where we dig into the past, present, and potential future of the platform.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Connectivity & Tech Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the technology industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.