Meta: Facebook owner launches $7.99 a month virtual reality service

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Facebook owner Meta has launched a virtual reality (VR) subscription service as it tries to make that part of its business profitable.

Meta says paying users will get access to two new games a month.

For the first three months of the year, the parent company of Instagram saw a $4bn (£3.1bn) loss at its VR unit.

Meta faces competition from firms including technology giant Apple, which unveiled its highly anticipated mixed-reality headset this month.

On Monday, the company said the Meta Quest+ service, which costs $7.99 a month or $59.99 for an annual subscription, was compatible with its Quest 2, Quest Pro and upcoming Quest 3 headsets.

In 2021, Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg unveiled plans to build a “metaverse” – an online world where people can play games, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.

“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,” Mr Zuckerberg said.

In February last year, Meta unveiled several ambitious artificial intelligence projects, and Mr Zuckerberg described AI as “the key to unlocking the metaverse”.

The company reported a profit of $5.7bn for the first three months of this year, surpassing market expectations.

However, its Reality Labs division, which produces VR headsets and other products, reported a net loss of $4bn for the period.

Earlier this month, Apple unveiled its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, in its first major hardware launch in almost a decade.

Apple’s headset, which will be released early next year in the US, will be priced at $3,499.

That is considerably more than other headsets currently available in the market. Meta’s VR headsets are priced between $299.99 and $999.99.

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