In perhaps the most surprising tech news in recent memory, Meta announced Tuesday that the company is adjusting prices on its flagship Quest 2 virtual reality headsets — not to lower the prices of the nearly two-year-old hardware, but to raise them by $100.
Starting in August, Meta Quest 2 will cost $399.99 for the 128 GB model, and $499.99 for the 256 GB model, the company said. On the Facebook Store, those models currently go for $299 and $399, respectively. Prices are also going up on Meta Quest 2 accessories and refurbished units, Meta said.
In a blog post, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) attempted to explain that the unprecedented hardware price hike “will help us continue to invest for the long term and keep driving the VR industry forward with best-in-class hardware, action-packed games, and cutting-edge research on the path to truly next-gen devices.” Meta added that “costs to make and ship our products have been on the rise. By adjusting the price of Quest 2, we can continue to grow our investment in groundbreaking research and new product development that pushes the VR industry to new heights.”
The company is trying to soften the blow of a $100 price increase on the Quest 2 by including a free download of popular VR rhythm game Beat Saber. That game currently sells for $29.99 on the Meta Quest Store.
As Meta points out, the company has other VR headsets on its product road map, including hardware codenamed Project Cambria. Due to launch later this year, the headset aims to bring remote work into virtual reality, and is reportedly priced starting at $799. Cambria is just one of four new VR headset models said to be coming from Meta. In 2023, there will be a new version of Meta’s lower-end Quest headset. In 2024, both Cambria and Quest will be refreshed with newer versions.
Meta’s announced price hike on the Quest 2 comes the same day that The Verge published a report on increasing pressures on Facebook, Instagram, and Meta’s other businesses. News of the price hike also comes the same day that Sony Interactive Entertainment revealed new features (but not pricing) for its highly anticipated PlayStation 5 headset, PlayStation VR2.
The price increase on Meta Quest 2 hardware is certainly atypical of hardware like VR headsets. Prices on hardware tend to go down, not up, over time to attract more customers, as component costs decrease, and as software revenue rises with an expanding user base. The move seems counter to the increased VR adoption that Mark Zuckerberg is betting on by leaning hard into the metaverse. But as Meta faces shrinking revenue, a stock price worth half of what it was last year, and an ambitious return on its $2 billion investment in Oculus VR, it appears everything is on the table for the company.