Meta said it will drop the price of Quest Pro virtual reality headsets by a third to $1,000 later this month

San Francisco (AFP) - Meta on Friday slashed prices of its Quest headsets in an attempt to entice more people into its gear and into the virtual worlds Mark Zuckerberg has heralded as the future of the internet.

The tech giant cut the price of recently launched Quest Pro virtual reality (VR) headsets by a third to $1,000, and the price of its most expensive consumer-market Quest 2 model by $70 to $430, it announced in a blog post.

“Our goal has always been to create hardware that’s affordable for as many people as possible to take advantage of all that VR has to offer,” Meta said in the post.

The lower price for Meta Quest 2 will take effect internationally on Sunday. The reduced Quest Pro price will start Sunday as well in Canada and the United States, and be applied internationally on March 15, according to the company.

More than a year after rebranding itself from Facebook to Meta, the social network titan is striving to make the metaverse a routine part of daily life.

But analysts say the company has toned down the hype a bit as it struggles to reach its goal of creating an interactive virtual world that it sees as the next phase of online activity.

Meta in October unveiled the Quest Pro version of its virtual reality headset tailored for working professionals.

The headset makes it possible to view not only virtual worlds but also the real environment of the user, thanks to high-resolution outward-facing cameras.

“The moment that they begin to break into a smile or when they raise their eyebrow… your avatar should be able to express all of that and more,” Meta chief Zuckerberg said at the company’s annual conference focused on virtual reality.

Meta said it is partnering with Microsoft and others to combine popular business and productivity software with Quest Pro.

Meta’s Reality Labs unit has lost billions of dollars on what Zuckerberg has described as a long-term investment in becoming a metaverse company.

Microsoft, Sony, and HTC are among the tech firms investing heavily in the metaverse, and Apple is rumored to be planning to release its own virtual reality headset.