Following a report today which claimed Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset would be priced at $800, rather than denying the information as a rumor, the company took the curious step of confirming the headset would be much more expensive.
A report by The Information today, citing an internal roadmap, claimed that Meta is planning to release four new VR headsets by 2024. The first would be Project Cambria, the report says, priced around $800.
Now typically when there’s a leak like this, companies will simply decline to comment on any of it. In this case, Meta took the somewhat odd step of pretty much doing that except for addressing a single point.
A Spokesperson for the company tells Road to VR the $800 price for Project Cambria claimed by the report is not accurate, and further, that the actual price of the headset will be “significantly higher.”
That’s a curious move, but it seems that Meta didn’t want the report to set a false expectation for the price of the headset, which is expected to launch later this year.
We’ve known from the bits Meta has shared previously that Project Cambria wasn’t going to aim for the lowest possible cost like Quest. But it’s a bit surprising that the company says the actual price will “significantly” exceed $800.
If the reported price of $800 was within $100 or even $200 of the actual price, it doesn’t seem like it would be that big of a deal. But because the company took the odd step of not just saying ‘the price is incorrect’, but also adding that it will be higher, makes us think the real price will certainly exceed $1,000.
That’s definitely expensive for a standalone VR headset, but not unheard of. HTC’s Vive Focus 3—which is aimed at enterprise customers—is priced at $1,300. If Meta sees itself competing for those same customers, they may aim to come close to that price (if not a bit under).
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Interestingly, the episode bears resemblance to something that happened in the early Oculus days, before the company was absorbed deeply into Meta. Back in 2015, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said the launch price of the original Oculus Rift headset would be “roughly in [the $350] ballpark.” But when the headset’s price was officially revealed at $600, nearly double the ‘ballpark’ price, people weren’t happy.
This was before the launch of Oculus Touch, the headset’s motion controllers; later when someone asked Luckey what the ‘ballpark’ price would be for Touch he remarked, “no more ballparks for now. I have learned my lesson.”
Whether that’s a long forgotten memory for Meta or not, the company must have felt it was quite important to get ahead of the Project Cambria price discussion before it got out of their hands.