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Meta is about to make VR cheaper and more accessible than ever

Meta Horizon OS means anyone can now make a Meta VR headset, with Asus and Lenovo already signed up, and an Xbox VR headset in the works.

meta horizon os asus lenovo xbox vr headset

Meta has just announced what’s arguably the biggest shakeup in the relatively short history of modern VR gaming. After buying Oculus VR and effectively locking down VR gaming in the process, Meta has now announced Meta Horizon OS, a new operating system that will allow many other hardware manufacturers to use the company’s VR tech to make headsets.

Tech titans Asus and Lenovo are already signed up to make new Meta Horizon OS headsets, and even Microsoft has announced an Xbox VR headset. While the Meta Quest 3 comfortably reigns supreme as the best VR headset we’ve yet used, there’s every chance some wider innovation in the headset hardware space could see Meta’s own device knocked from its perch.

The technology at the heart of Meta Horizon OS is in line with what Meta has been developing over the last decade while creating its own standalone headsets. This includes tech such as inside-out tracking, along with eye, face, hand, and body tracking.

Meanwhile, for mixed reality, there’s Meta says it’s offering “a full stack of technologies for blending the digital and physical worlds.” These include high-resolution passthrough, plus scene understanding tech, and the ability to place spatial anchors.

As well as providing access to all these software features, which would take many years to develop as an independent hardware maker, Meta also cites the opportunities for developers and creators to tap into a wide and diversified hardware landscape.

Meta describes custom frameworks and tooling that it’s built for mixed reality. In addition, Meta claims that developers can “reach their communities and grow their businesses through the content discovery and monetization platforms built into the OS.”

We don’t have many details about the variety of specs that different hardware partners will offer with Horizon OS, but Asus says it will “develop an all-new performance gaming headset”. Meanwhile, Lenovo says it will “draw on its experience co-designing Oculus Rift S […] to develop mixed reality devices for productivity, learning, and entertainment.”

As for the biggest name of the bunch, the Xbox VR headset looks to be a rebranded Meta Quest 3 with suitably black and green styling. So, that’s not all that exciting yet, but the potential for future devices is incredibly exciting.

There’s no word yet on when we might see these products become available to buy, but we hope to start seeing products at some point this year.

In the meantime, if you already have a headset make sure you check out best VR games for PC guide, where we take you through our top choices.