The logo of Meta Platforms' business group is seen in Brussels
Earlier this year, a road map of Meta's augmented reality (AR) glasses launch timeline was leaked to the public. Reuters

Not too long ago Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of the newest addition to his company's services. Meta Quest+ is a virtual reality (VR) subscription service and the biggest prospective competitor of Apple's Vision Pro mixed-reality headset.

At the price of $7.99, subscribers will be given access to two new "hand-picked VR" games each month. Individuals may also choose to avail of the $59.99 annual package, saving up to 37 per cent of the original price. New customers who will sign up from today up to July 31 of this year can get their first month of the subscription for just one US dollar.

The subscription is available for all owners of Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets, as well as the new Quest 3 which will come out later this year. The company's first-ever virtual reality headset, Meta Quest, was released back on May 21, 2019. Meanwhile, its Quest 2 and Quest Pro headsets were released on October 13, 2020, and October 25, 2022, respectively.

Back in the year 2021, the chief executive of the American multinational technology conglomerate unveiled his plans to build a "metaverse", or an online world where people can play games, work, and communicate in a virtual environment, often with the use of VR headsets. According to the company's website, it is the next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet.

"Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we're building towards," Zuckerberg stated.

Based in Menlo Park, California in the United States, Meta Platforms Inc. re-branded from its former name, Facebook Inc., in October 2021. The company currently owns multiple widely used social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It was founded back in 2004 by Mark Elliot Zuckerberg and four others. From July of that year up to today, the company is headed by Zuckerberg as the CEO, executive chairman, and controlling shareholder.

The company experienced a major loss last year, with its annual sales dropping to $116.6 billion or one per cent. A huge portion came from Meta's Reality Labs, the division responsible for building the company's VR headsets and software. While aiming towards "designing technology that's transparent, meaningful, considerate, and above all, human", they suffered an operating loss of $4.28 billion in the last quarter of 2022.

Earlier this year, a road map of Meta's augmented reality (AR) glasses launch timeline was leaked to the public. Code named Project Nazare, the parent company of Facebook allegedly planned to launch the Meta AR glasses in 2024. Recently, the product has been re-branded as Orion and is slated to enter the internal testing phase in 2024. Multiple sources also suggest that the AR glasses will go official in the year 2027.

On June 5 of this year, Apple announced its new augmented and virtual reality headset, Vision Pro, at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Dubbed as a spatial computer by Apple because of its ability to "seamlessly blend digital content with physical space", the mixed reality headset is set to launch in early 2024 with a starting price of 3,499 US Dollars.

Vision Pro also features visionOS, which Apple boasts as the world's first spatial operating system. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, stated: "Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple's Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing. Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before."

"Creating our first spatial computer required invention across nearly every facet of the system," said Mike Rockwell, Apple's vice president of the Technology Development Group. As the first major hardware launch of Apple in almost a decade, Vision Pro will surely cast a major dent in Meta's VR headset sales once they are released.