During a Q1 earnings call, Facebook (now Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the upcoming Project Cambria headset “will be more work focused,” with features and ergonomics suited for a mixed reality office environment. But these features should appeal to gamers, assuming that Zuckerberg isn’t holding back any unpleasant details.
Zuckerberg published his earnings call statement in a Facebook post. The majority of this (very long) statement focuses on declining revenues; Facebook’s business model relies on selling user data, something that’s in relatively short supply due to increased privacy on iOS and Android devices.
But the statement ends with some information on Project Cambria, the codename for Facebook’s upcoming headset. Project Cambria is launching later this year, and according to Zuckerberg, it should be the best platform for mixed reality office work.
“Later this year, we’ll release a higher-end headset, codenamed Project Cambria, which will be more focused on work use cases and eventually replacing your laptop or work setup.”
“This premium device will have improved ergonomics and full color passthrough mixed reality to seamlessly blend virtual reality with the physical world. We’re also building in eye tracking and face tracking so that your avatar can make eye contact and facial expressions, which dramatically improves your sense of presence.”
Early leaks and images suggest that Project Cambria uses a smaller visor than previous Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest) headsets, plus a variation on the Meta Quest 2’s “Elite Strap.” Zuckerberg seems to have confirmed these rumors, and of course, he now says that Project Cambria will offer full-color passthrough so you can see your real-world surroundings while in VR.
Advanced eye and face tracking is also a focus of Project Cambria, which makes sense. It’s hard to build a metaverse community with a bunch of dead-eyed avatars, as we learned when testing Horizon Workrooms late last year.
Understandably, people are disappointed to hear that Project Cambria is so work-focused. But these features should translate well to the gaming experience. We regularly use the Quest 2’s passthrough feature to stay aware of our surroundings, and proper face tracking could add an incredible level of depth to multiplayer VR titles.
But maybe Zuckerberg’s enthusiasm for working in VR will ruin things for gamers. We’ll have to wait and see, I suppose.