Meta reveals future hardware, adds MINI and Fender brands to metaverse

Meta’s sneak peek at future hardware: While still years away from production, Meta’s prototype headsets aim to create VR that is indistinguishable from reality, per Protocol.

Why this matters: Meta, whose acquisition of Oculus in 2014 has helped it attain an 80% market share in VR hardware, knows its metaverse future is reliant on hardware and wants to exert its dominance before other players, like Apple, Microsoft, and Google, begin shipping alternatives.

Meta showed off various prototypes last week that each target a different hurdle VR faces today. 

  • A Half Dome series of prototypes experiments with varifocal technology that “ensures the focus is correct and enables clear and comfortable vision within arm’s length for extended periods of time.” It also brings down the size and weight so headsets are less taxing on the head and neck.
  • Another prototype, codenamed “Butterscotch,” is being developed to produce “retinal” resolution, with image quality similar to the human eye. A far cry from the current Quest 2 headset’s blocky and low-resolution graphics.
  • Starburst” is an HDR VR headset that the company says can reproduce levels of brightness seen by the human eye in an indoor or nighttime scenario. The current prototype is still far too large and heavy, indicating it is years away from becoming a viable product.

New brand ’verses: Along with the most advanced hardware, Meta is committed to building content through brand partnerships. In context, Meta announced that carmaker MINI and musical instruments-maker Fender will each have metaverse worlds.

  • The MINIverse is a VR go-kart experience that allows users to choose cars, compete, and unlock in-game features as they race in VR.
  • The Fender Stratoverse, also accessible in Horizon Worlds, is a Stratocaster guitar-shaped island surrounded by giant Fender amps and planets floating high above in the stratosphere. It features the option to create original music riffs in VR.

What’s next? Meta revealing prototypes and adding popular brands to the metaverse helps give the impression that its VR hardware and content are in a growth stage. This could go a long way in persuading businesses to invest in the metaverse.

What’s the catch? Despite being ahead in the VR headset game, Meta risked showing its hand to competitors that now have VR headset templates to benchmark against. Conversely, the Meta prototypes could be a smokescreen, meaning it’s working on something else entirely that it hasn’t revealed.

The missing link: Meta may be working on new hardware and expanding metaverse experiences through brand promotions, but the company hasn’t indicated how it can evolve its operating system, which is currently built on a modified version of Google’s Android.

Dig Deeper: For a more detailed breakdown of the metaverse and its impact on various businesses, read our Metaverse Report.