In his recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Mark Zuckerberg’s comments about the FBI and the Hunter Biden laptop garnered a lot of attention. But in the same three-hour interview, the founder and CEO of Facebook parent company Meta also made some news about an upcoming product.
As reported by Tom’s Guide, Zuckerberg said that the company’s next virtual reality (VR) product will arrive in October, as the successor to the Meta Quest 2 that arrived in 2020. This is the first major VR launch since the company changed its name to Meta last fall. Zuckerberg also announced that it was focusing on the metaverse in the future.
The product arriving this fall has been described in the past as “Project Cambria,” although it’s not clear what name it will use when it is actually released.
The new headset will offer “the ability to now have kind of eye contact in virtual reality,” Zuckerberg said in the interview. “[Users can] have your face be tracked so that way your avatar—it’s not just this still thing, but if you smile or if you frown or if you pout, or whatever your expression is, have that translate in real time to your avatar”.
Techradar has described Project Cambria as “an important step for Facebook's transformation into Meta and its embrace of the metaverse. Dubbed ‘the Oculus Quest Pro’ by eager fans and pundits, Project Cambria is a high-end virtual reality and augmented reality hybrid headset.” In May, Zuckerberg demonstrated some of the product’s functions but did not show what the product itself looks like.
There has, however, been some skepticism about Meta’s plans for the metaverse. For one thing, the cartoon-looking renderings, often of Zuckerberg’s own likeness, have come in for much mockery.
“The metaverse is as dead as Zuckerberg’s cartoon eyes,” Fast Company recently wrote.
“The worst part is not how bad it looks, but the fact that it is a symbol of how badly Meta is managing expectations for the metaverse. Anybody expecting that this metaverse thing will end up being a real-life version of the book and film Ready Player One is in for a huge disappointment. And so is Zuckerberg, when he finally realizes that only an insignificant fraction of enthusiasts are going to buy into this awkward dimension.”
“I’m not a buyer of that idea. I don’t think that their current definition is going to be successful. I say that because, first...and I don’t know if anyone from Facebook is here, but you have to admit that Facebook itself is not an innovative company. They’re not,” he said.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.