Meta might be planning a pricier Quest 3 for later in the year but more pressing is its retention issue with new Quest 2 owners. Meta’s VP of VR, Mark Rabkin has been reported as saying “they’re just not as into it” unlike longtime VR fans. So what’s the solution? Well, a subscription service like Xbox Game Pass could well be it. And if recent rumours are true, a “Game Pass” for Quest 2 is well underway.
Subscription services are big business, giving consumers access to lots of content for a reasonable monthly fee. Stop paying and you lose access. It’s a model used by services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max and, of course, Game Pass, PlayStation Plus and Nintendo Online.
Those services are just the tip of the iceberg, meaning there are plenty vying for your hard-earned cash each and every month. Furthermore, in the current cost of living crisis, these types of products are the first to go – as Netflix knows very well.
So content is key. Having a regular selection of new entertainment to enjoy keeps people subscribed, especially the exclusive stuff. And when it comes to the gaming sector there’s a fierce battle to bring the latest AAA content alongside older, backwards-compatible titles to fill in the gaps. For instance, in March Xbox Game Pass will add Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 alongside Dead Space 2 and Dead Space 3. The latter the most poorly received of the horror franchise.
However, game subscription services keep people coming back for more, which is where Quest 2 is lacking. But can a “Quest Pass” actually work effectively considering the smaller user base and even smaller VR developer community?
This week Twitter user Shiny Quagsire posted a screenshot reportedly taken from the Meta Quest Android App. The image gives a description of Quest Pass – codenamed Project Apollo – where users can “Get up to two new apps or games every month.”
It goes on to add:
Log in each month to redeem your apps, and grow your library with the most exciting VR titles.
- Enjoy new apps the day you subscribe
- Get easy access to the best of VR
- Redeem and install to play right away
Redeem your apps by the end of the month, and keep your apps as long as you are subscribed.
Sounds very much like Xbox and PlayStation’s services. Albeit with one slight caveat, these console offerings also unlock online multiplayer. Quest 2, meanwhile, provides online multiplayer as part of the entire ecosystem. And Meta wouldn’t draw the ire of longstanding players by suddenly putting the service behind a paywall (well I hope not).
So can a couple of games a month be enough to persuade new customers to join? It might work with very new owners but if you’ve had a Quest 2 – or the original Quest – since day one, you’ve likely got a lot of the big ticket videogames on the platform.
And let’s not forget that a VR subscription service already exists, HTC Vive’s Viveport. Release way back in 2016, Viveport Infinity has ticked along in the background where you can sign-up for £12.99 GBP a month. It is PC-based so Quest 2 users would need to Air Link or tether to a computer. Viveport never made the same impression as its console cousins, with its biggest redeeming feature being that it is platform agnostic.
Securing Quest’s future
Quest 2’s lifecycle will likely draw to a close in the next year when Quest 3 arrives in 2023 – with a more accessible Meta Quest 3 planned for 2024. Adding Quest Pro into the mix as well, that issue of user retention could be mitigated across its hardware range with a subscription service.
Those already on it may want to continue on a more powerful headset, where developers can offer upgrades. Very much in a similar fashion to a lot of PlayStation VR 2 launch games.
That all hinges on whether “Quest Pass” is real, when it’ll arrive and how much it’ll cost. Priced too high and it’ll be a none starter.
Do you own a Quest headset? Would you pay for a “Quest Pass” subscription? Let us know in the comments below.