Meta Platforms has slashed the prices of its virtual reality headsets in hopes of boosting demand for its VR hardware as its bold bets on the metaverse struggle to make a big splash.

Its flagship Meta Quest Pro will retail for $999 (nearly Rs. 81,700), which is less than the launch price of US$ 1,499 (nearly Rs. 1,22,500 crore), and the Quest 2, 256GB version for 429 dollars (nearly Rs. 35,000) from $499 (nearly Rs. 41,000), CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a broadcast on a blog post in Friday.

The company cited lower Quest 2 sales as the reason for the 17 percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue for its Reality Labs division, which includes VR-related offerings.

The unit lost $13.7 billion (almost Rs 112,000 crore) last year and over $10 billion (almost Rs 81,700 crore) in 2021.

Meta Quest 2 256GB version price cut will be effective from March 5 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden , Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the US, where Meta Quest Pro will start dropping prices on March 5th in the US and Canada and March 15th in all other countries where Meta Quest Pro is supported.

Meta has faced criticism from investors for pouring money into the metaverse that has not reaped benefits as expected.

Late last year, the company launched the Quest Pro, positioning it as its most advanced VR headset with room for further development of use cases.

The Quest Pro, with its outward-facing cameras that capture a live 3D stream of the physical environment and enable innovations like the ability to hang virtual paintings on a real-world wall, was aimed at designers, architects and other creative professionals.

Lately, Meta has sobered up its stance on the metaverse and focused on cost savings. The company has called 2023 “the year of efficiency” and is predicting billions in cost cuts this year.

While VR headsets have added more advanced capabilities recently, adoption outside of the gaming community has been slow.

Last month, Tencent, the world’s largest video game publisher, shelved plans to venture into VR hardware while it held talks to distribute its Meta Quest product line in China.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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