Meta’s Quest 3 headset is all about the gaming and Battlefield 2042 is working hard to get gamers back.
Meta Quest 3 updates the virtual reality headset and goes hard on gaming
Last week, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg showed off the Meta Quest 3, the next generation virtual reality system that the Facebook founder is so bullish on.
The new hardware is expected to launch later this year and will be priced at $690 in Canada. It is thinner, lighter, and more comfortable, according to the company, and will have better graphics and resolution.
The Quest 2 headset gets a price drop in advance: $420 (128 GB) and $490 (256 GB). Both it and the Quest Pro are getting performance bumps in the next update to the operating systems for those devices.
The complete library of content for the Quest devices is over 500 titles at this point, much of it games, and the Quest 3 is backwards compatible.
But there were a bunch of new games announced that will be coming to the Quest 3, including sequels to Arizona Sunshine, I Expect You to Die, and Asgard’s Wrath. In a release Meta said the latter will be the biggest title ever on the Quest platform.
With launch of Season 5, Battlefield 2042 sets sight on redemption
EA’s Battlefield is a storied franchise, but the 2021 release of the latest game, Battlefield 2042, was a bit rocky as the game was criticized for myriad technical issues.
Since then, the developers at the DICE studio in Stockholm have been working away to rebuild trust in fans and deliver more of what military shooter gamers are looking for from the franchise.
Today, the fifth season of the game, “New Dawn”, released, and along with it the latest in a host of updates the developers have been releasing into Battlefield in the last eighteen months.
The new season brings a new story that takes place in an industrial facility in Czechia that includes a train crash site. (Even though there’s no single player campaign in 2042, there are narratives anchoring the experience.)
Among the significant changes to the game was the return last fall of the class system with characters being categorized as assault, recon, support, or engineer. When 2042 launched, that standard approach to player characters was replaced by a more flexible system that gave players incredible choice over how they created and improved a character. What players discovered was that too much choice with 128 player games led to confusion and chaos.
DICE has also reworked the seven maps that were part of the game’s launch and has constantly updated the software that anchors the experience.
Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is going on right now, and at Monday’s keynote the company unveiled updates to some of its key computer offerings and to software that runs Apple devices.
Vision Pro, the headset computer that Apple is calling a “spatial computer”, was also on display.
Apple’s latest innovation is Vision Pro
The Vision Pro is Apple’s “spatial computer” because it is designed to be used in the space of the world around us.
And it’s a computer that seems to have revolutionized how users interface with it. In demos that were shown during the keynote, people were shown using gestures to open applications and resize windows. You’ll also use your voice to operate Vision Pro.
But one of the most interesting aspects of the new headset is how you can control it with your eyes.
The Vision Pro has cameras on the outside and inside of the headset, and the interior ones are there to track your eye movement so the spatialOS operating system can respond to your intentions. And because of how our body anticipates, in this case our pupils, the Vision Pro is kind of predictive. It’s like the system knows what we’re going to do before we do it.
Those internal cameras also enable EyeSight, which is the Vision Pro feature that shows people in our space a digital view of our eyes when they’re interacting with us while we’re wearing the headset.
The external cameras collect information about the real world to display in the headset. There’s a dial on the device that you can turn to increase and decrease the amount of real world you see.
Those cameras also allow for 3D video recording and viewing. And for the first while, that’s probably where people will get the most value out of Vision Pro: using the headset to watch movies and television shows.
Much has been made about the $3,500 USD price tag on the Vision Pro, but the truth is this device is not a consumer product. Not yet. It’s first generation hardware that is intended to be used by developers – the true audience for WWDC – to create applications and experiences.
Whether the Vision Pro leads to more consumer friendly pricing and usability will take months, if not years, to determine.
For now, it’s just interesting to see Apple’s take on headset-based computing.
MacBook Air grows to 15 inches, Mac Pro and Mac Studio get chip bumps
Apple also announced updates to its line of computers, including an updated Mac Studio (starting at $2,699) with the M2 Max and M2 Ultra chips, and a new version of the Mac Pro tower (starting at $8,999) using the same chips that can be configured with a graphical processing unit that has up to 76 cores, and a computer processing unit with 24 cores. It supports up to eight displays.
The best laptop you can get also gets a new version in the 15-inch MacBook Air (starting at $1,749). It’s built with Apple’s M2 chip which allows the laptop to be built without needing a fan (due to the efficiency of Apple’s silicon).
Notable updates to Apple operating systems
Every operating system that runs Apple’s devices is getting updated. This is routine, and with every release comes new functionality. Here are some of the things that caught my attention.
You’ll be able to leave voice and video messages when you call someone on FaceTime and they don’t answer.
SharePlay is being added to CarOS, so anyone with an Apple device in a vehicle can connect to the iPhone that’s connected to the car to play music or podcasts or navigate.
Support for external webcams is coming to your iPad.
FaceTime through your AppleTV box uses your iPhone or iPad camera and displays the output on your TV. And you can use your iPhone to find your AppleTV remote.
A new game mode will make gaming on your Mac better. Death Stranding, from Hideo Kojima, is being released for Macs. Related: Apple has created a toolkit to help game developers quickly assess how the games they created for Windows will run on Mac so they can determine how much work will be required to completely port over.
This week on The Shift, Shane Hewitt and I talked about how well the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is selling, Nathan Fillion’s return to Destiny 2, Playstation’s Project Q, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Fairgame$ from Haven Studios, the virtual F1 racing competition, and new reports from MediaSmarts showing how Canadian youth are confronting online misinformation.
Updates on the Legend of Zelda and Destiny 2 and more from the Playstation Showcase, including Spider-Man 2 and Fairgame$, and a virtual F1 racing competition is tied to the Montreal Grand Prix.
What’s going on in the world of video games
In its first three days available, the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom sold more than four million copies in North America and more than ten million units worldwide.
Canadian actor Nathan Fillion is returning to play Cayde-6, a character in Bungie’s Destiny universe, for the upcoming expansion of Destiny 2, the Final Shape. We’ll get more info about it all on August 22.
More from last week’s Playstation Showcase
Last week I got excited about Bungie’s reveal of it’s new game, Marathon, but that wasn’t the only thing that Playstation had for us to get excited about.
Project Q is a portable system that will stream games from your PS5 over a Wi-Fi connection. The handheld looks like a smartphone glued in between a PS5 controller that’s been cut in half.
Playstation’s also coming out with wireless earbuds to go with the handheld. No pricing for either of these was announced, but Sony did say these are coming this year.
The new PS5 game, the third from Insomniac Games, introduces the villain Kraven and the symbiote, Venom, and in this game we get to play as Peter Parker’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales’ Spider-Man.
And we learned that the game from Haven Studios is called Fairgame$.
It’s a competitive experience where your team is up against others to see which of you can pull off the most extravagant heists against the wealthy elite. Think of it as Robin Hood and his Merry Thieves against a different Robin Hood and her Merry Thieves.
Not much more is known, but Haven had a trailer that shows off the attitude they are going for. Note that this is not gameplay.
Canada’s best virtual F1 racers could earn a trip to Montreal
When the Formula 1 auto racing series hits Montreal later in June, five video game players will compete for the chance to race Max Verstappen in a simulated race.