The XR Week Peek (2024.03.19): Quest 3S and Pico 4S leaked, and much more!

Today is Father’s Day in Italy, so I want to send a big hug to all the fathers out there, wherever they may be.
 Life is busy these days, but in April I will have more time to collaborate with you all. For this reason, I’ve given a refresh to the pages where I talk about the paid services I offer, may they be advertising on this blog, strategic consultancies about the XR market, or development of immersive experiences. If you need my help, I’m available, just get in touch 🙂

And now, after this little personal commercial, let’s start talking about the most interesting XR news of the week!

Top news of the week

(Image leaked on Reddit)

A leak may have revealed the design of the Quest 3 Lite

Someone shared on Reddit two screenshots from a presentation happening between Meta and his company about an upcoming Meta Quest device. We are referring to the affordable Quest 3 that we always called “Quest 3 Lite”, which, according to previous rumors, should be a refresh of the Meta Quest 2 with the processing power of the Meta Quest 3 and be priced at $199.
 In the shared screenshots, though, the device is not called Quest 3 Lite, but Quest 3S. It features passthrough mixed reality, 128 or 256GB of storage, and 1832×1920 per eye resolution (20 PPD). The only visible buttons are the volume button, power button, and the hole for external headphones. The features (including the resolution) are basically the same as the Quest 2 because the actual innovations of this device are the addition of mixed reality and the update of the chipset to the XR2 Gen2. The headset would be a Quest 2 but with the most important characteristics of the Quest 3. This would help in keeping the Meta ecosystem coherent, something that is important for Meta, as an editorial that I read recently on Upload was stressing.
 It’s interesting that in these two images, we never see this mockup headset with its controllers. I do not know if it is a sign about it being mainly driven by hand tracking or if it is just that controllers were not part of these two slides, but I’ve found it intriguing.
 It is not clear if this leak is true or not, though. It happened very strangely, with the guy uploading the images on Reddit even forgetting to delete the faces that were in the Zoom call. If the leak is not a staged one, I guess someone is going to be fucked hard by Meta’s lawyers today. Then in the pictures, the headset appears sometimes in a way, and other times mirrored, which is weird. And finally, the presentation has the name “Quest Design System Research V2 Final Phase” which doesn’t sound like the name of a call preceding the launch of a product. What I mean is that to me this sounds like a call requesting feedback: Meta has thought about possible designs for the Quest 3S and is asking for feedback about it, so what we see here are more mockups than actual launch images. This would mean that the final product to be launched on the market may change. This is what I think, then everything can be.
 It is anyway interesting to see what are some possible directions that Meta may take in the future.

More info (Original Reddit post of the leak)
More info (Images of the leak)
More info (The face of one of the guys involved in the call)

Other relevant news

(Image from Upload)

Pico is rumored to launch Pico 4S headset

This has been the week of the “S” headsets. A new rumor about Pico talks about the company launching a refresh of the Pico 4 dubbed “Pico 4S”, that should feature updated ring-less controllers. The rumor started because Twitter/X user Lunayian (which is used to leak many XR stuff) found the image of the new controller inside the Pico Connect PC client data. The name “Pico 4S” has also been trademarked by Pico/Bytedance, so everything seems to hint at the launch of this device.
 This would also be coherent with a previous rumor about Pico. The company was allegedly canceling its “Pico 5” to focus on a more prosumer-oriented headset able to compete with the Apple Vision Pro. But a refresh of the Pico 4 was still in the plans, probably because already in an advanced state. Well, this refresh could be the “Pico 4S” mentioned in the new rumor.
 I think it’s still positive to see Pico launching a new device: the more players we have in our space, the better.

More info (Pico 4S headset leaked — Road To VR)
More info (Pico 4S headset leaked — Upload VR)
More info (Previous rumour about the Pico 5)

Vision Pro may launch soon in other countries

It’s time for the usual mini-roundup on Vision Pro news. The most important piece of news of the week is that the Vision Pro can probably be launched soon in other countries. Some code found in Vision Pro’s 1.1 visionOS update shows that 12 new languages are coming and these include Chinese, Korean, French, and German. We can so speculate that Apple is preparing to distribute the headset in some countries outside the US. China represents a huge market for Apple, and, interestingly, it is a market where the Vision Pro can be launched but where the Meta Quest can’t arrive (or better, people have it, but not officially). It would be interesting to see how an international launch will play out.

More info (Vision Pro getting additional languages)

This week I’ve also read one of the best articles about the Vision Pro that has ever been written. Hugo Barra, who previously led VR at Meta during the Oculus Go launch, has written a long post with his opinions on the device and the effect it may have on Meta’s business. It is very long but also very insightful: for instance, he describes how it has been his experience as a manager in using Apple’s headset for productivity (ok-ish but not perfect); he says that the AVP is not ready to replace an iPad; and he stresses that this is a watershed moment for the whole XR market. I strongly suggest you to read it.

More info (Hugo Barra’s article about the Vision Pro)

Talking about content, there are a few things to say. First of all, some 2D games have been published on Vision Pro adding some 3D features, so to fit more the device. It seems that the AVP is attracting mostly 2D content, which is slowly adapting to mixed reality.
 Then, Moon Player has launched on Vision Pro and is letting people enjoy immersive videos from Youtube. Synth Riders is adding a local “party mode” on VisionOS, so that you can see who between you and your friends make the most points. Just Hoops has also been launched on the device, bringing basketball fun to it.
 Upload has made a good article collecting which games are available for the Vision Pro, in case you are interested to play on it.

More info (2D games adding 3D features on AVP) More info (Immersive Youtube videos on Moon Player) More info (Synth Riders Party Mode) More info (Just Hoops on AVP) More info (Upload listed all the games available on AVP)

If you are more interested in the enterprise world, instead, you may be happy to discover that the Apple Vision Pro has been used for the first time during a surgery. A nurse working alongside the surgeon used the Vision Pro to help prepare, keep track of the procedure, and choose the right tools.

More info (AVP used during surgery)

Canon shows its commitment to Virtual Reality

It’s refreshing to see Canon, one of the biggest names in the photography industry, showing its commitment to immersive realities. At the Photography & Video Show in Birmingham, UK, Canon unveiled three new prototype Virtual Reality products. These prototypes are cameras that can record 180° 3D videos (and photos) with very high quality so that they can be enjoyed inside a VR headset.
 There’s no release date or pricing info about these prototypes, which don’t even have a name (they were called with very boring names like Concept Model 001 and Concept Model 002). But Canon’s Imaging Product Marketing Lead, David Parry, released important statements about Canon’s commitment: “The new lenses are pretty far along” he said, then added “We’re heavily invested in Virtual Reality and want to get these products out there as soon as possible” and went on with “Virtual reality is an important piece of technology for the future and how people will interact with images. It enables us to do things that we couldn’t dream of before”.
 Canon is not only interested in the content creation use case, but it is also experimenting with VR in the medical field via Canon Medical. All of this is very cool.
 (I discovered this news thanks to Jeremy Dalton)

More info

News worth a mention

(Image from Upload)

Virtual Desktop can now emulate worn Vive Trackers

Meta Quest can now reconstruct the full pose of the upper body of the user and somewhat simulate the feet and leg position. Virtual Desktop is now taking this data and feeding it to SteamVR simulating that it is coming from Vive Trackers: this way the users can have full-body VR without having to buy Vive Trackers. This is a very cool step towards the democratization of full-body VR.

More info

Meta is funding improved XR support in Godot

Meta has provided funding to W4 Games, a startup created by the cofounders of Godot, to have them improve the engine’s support for OpenXR and Quest feature extensions. By funding Godot development, Meta keeps a door open to having a friend opensource engine, making it less dependent on major tech companies like Unity and Unreal. Even if this is a move made for Meta’s own interests, it is going to be beneficial for the whole open-source community.

More info

A deep dive into VR UX design

Road To VR’s Ben Lang has written another one of his amazing posts in which he analyzes in detail the design of an XR experience. This time is the turn of Synapse: he explains how the design of the experience is well conceived to increase the sense of embodiment (i.e. presence) for the user.

More info

Micro OLED may come in 2027–2028

Micro OLED is a technology that everyone is waiting in the XR field, because it may provide small screens with a high definition and high brightness. But this tech still needs time. Choi Joo-sun, the CEO of Samsung Display, predicted that we still need 3–4 years for these displays to be commercialized. We so have to wait until 2027–2028. As I always say, the road to mainstream XR is always slower than we hoped for.

More info

BCI can be used to improve object selection in XR

A new paper shows how BCI can be used to improve object selection in XR. The author of the paper found that when you perform an action in XR (e.g. you press a button), you expect a result to happen (e.g. the video playback starts). This expectation creates a specific brainwave pattern that can be detected using a BCI device.
 Using this knowledge, we could evolve the current interface of the Vision Pro: you just have to look at objects, and when the system detects this brain pattern, it means that the brain would like to operate that item, so you select it. From gaze to pinch, we arrive to gaze… and nothing more. Basically, the device can read your intentions. It’s still research work, but it’s very cool.
 (Compliments Rajshekar Reddy for the great work)

More info

The craziest devices in XR

I just started a new series of articles on my blog where I talk about the craziest XR devices I’ve heard of. Some of them are crazy cool, others are crazy nonsense, but all of them deserve a mention. Discover them in my latest post and suggest to me the ones I may have forgotten!

More info

Meta killed Bogo and Dead And Buried

Meta promised it and it did it: it killed Bogo and Dead And Buried. I’m a bit sad about Bogo… many female friends of mine that tried it said it was very cute. It was one of my introductory demos for Quest. I’ll miss that little creature.

More info

Spring Sales bring discounts to VR games

Both Meta Store and Steam are nowadays offering a Spring Sale, with cool offers like Half-Life: Alyx at $20 (66% discount). Prepare your wallets!

More info

Some news about content

  • Swarm 2, the sequel of one of the best-rated action VR games, is now available across Quest and Pico headsets, priced at $25
  • Horror game HappyFunland is coming to PSVR 2 and SteamVR headsets on March 22nd, priced at $30
  • Starship Home makes an incredibly smart use of mixed reality to make your room feel like a spaceship. It is also the first title that is promoted as exclusive for Quest 3
  • Slender: The Arrival VR reaches PSVR 2 and Steam on September 13
  • Big Shots, a game about co-op mech fights, reaches Quest, PC VR, and PSVR 2 on April 18 for $24.99
  • Tropico VR, the VR version of the famous game that lets you control a country as its president, reaches the Meta Quest platform on March 28 for $29.99
  • Anarchitects, an MR/VR sandbox game, launches in early access via Quest App Lab on April 23
  • The new Strike Rush trailer has been unveiled (full disclaimer: Strike Rush holds a banner on this blog)
  • Upload has released its usual ICYMI post with some sparse minor news about the VR ecosystem

More info (Swarm 2)
More info (HappyFunLand)
More info (Starship Home — Road To VR)
More info (Starship Home — Upload VR)
More info (Slender: The Arrival VR)
More info (Big Shots)
More info (Tropico VR)
More info (Anarchitects)
More info (Strike Rush)
More info (ICYMI)

Some reviews of content

  • Tin Hearts VR is an interesting take on the Lemmings genre, featuring a nice game design, but disappointing graphical polish
  • Breathedge: Cosmic Cluck is a fun and engaging VR game that offers a unique blend of survival, exploration, and humor. It is not perfect, though: especially the sound design could have been made better

More info (Tin Hearts VR)
More info (Breathedge: Cosmic Cluck)

Other news

Virtuix announced it now has a lineup of 35 games ready for the Omni One VR treadmill

Learn more

Agog: The Immersive Media Institute is a new philanthropic organization focused on XR

Learn more

3,000 modified Hololens will be distributed to the US Army to test the latest iteration of the IVAS system

Learn more

Researchers found a new way to perform a malicious attack on a Quest device

Learn more

An interesting article describes how AI and XR can help blind people

Learn more

Niantic found that $500 is a price threshold above which consumer interest in an XR device decreases

Learn more

Steven Spielberg may produce Ready Player Two but not direct it

Learn more

This scientific article explains the full body estimation that Meta does starting from the images of the cameras of the headset

Learn more

News from partners (and friends)

Do you need support for your XR storytelling experiences?

My colleague Georgy Molodtsov, who I worked with and can guarantee is a great professional, has just published on LinkedIn the fact that he’s open to work for the roles of Film Producer, Virtual Reality Consultant, Computer Graphics Supervisor, Curator, and Lecturer. In case he’s what you are looking for, please reach out to him on Linkedin… I can guarantee he will deliver what he promises.
Learn more


AWE USA is going to happen again this year: it will be on June 18–20, for the first time in the beautiful location of Long Beach, Los Angeles, California. There will be amazing speakers like Palmer Luckey, so it’s a great opportunity to make connections with important people in our space. Super Early Bird discount on the tickets is ending soon (on March, 21st), so rush to buy them by using the link below (which also includes a special code to give you a 20% discount!).
Learn more and buy tickets

Some XR fun

This guy is living in 2034 and already paying with the Apple Vision Pro!
Funny link

The best question you could find on Reddit this week. And the comments are all spot on…
Funny link

We VR indie devs are so happy about App Lab…
Funny link

How to downgrade your VR headset in an easy way
Funny link

Classic Meta
Funny link

My life in a nutshell. Ah no, in my case, sometimes I’ve also worn a VR headset.
Funny link

Donate for good

Like last week, also this week in this final paragraph I won’t ask you to donate to my blog, but to the poor people who are facing the consequences of the war. Please donate to the Red Cross to handle the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine. I will leave you the link to do that below.
 Let me take a moment before to thank anyway all my Patreon donors for the support they give to me:

  • Alex Gonzalez VR
  • DeoVR
  • GenVR
  • Eduardo Siman
  • Jonn Fredericks
  • Jean-Marc Duyckaerts
  • Reynaldo T Zabala
  • Richard Penny
  • Terry xR. Schussler
  • Ilias Kapouranis
  • Paolo Leoncini
  • Nikk Mitchell and the great FXG team
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  • Masterpiece X
  • Jennifer Granger
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  • Jan Schroeder
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  • Steve R
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  • Matt Cool
  • Simplex
  • Gregory F Gorsuch
  • Matias Nassi

And now here you are the link to donate:

Support The Red Cross in Ukraine

(Header image leaked on Reddit)

The post The XR Week Peek (2024.03.19): Quest 3S and Pico 4S leaked, and much more! appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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