Mark Zuckerberg shared an image that looks like it might be teasing physical Meta stores or retail displays for Quest demos.
The image was posted to his Facebook wall with the caption “Any guesses where this was taken? “. It shows him wearing a Quest 2 in front of a video wall showing a mixed reality view of him playing Beat Saber. In the rear, shelves containing what looks like Quest 2, Quest 1, and Oculus Go, sit alongside what looks like the box for the Quest 2 Elite Strap and Anker’s charging station for Quest 2.
Back in November The New York Times reported Meta had been planning physical stores for more than a year. The purpose of the locations would be to introduce people to Meta’s hardware: headsets, glasses, and Portal video calling devices. The report didn’t mention whether products would actually be sold in-store, but it sounded like that wasn’t the focus of the plan. Discussions about physical stores reportedly “predated Facebook’s rebranding by many months”, with serious work on the initiative starting in 2020.
Facebook opened a few temporary pop-up stores for the budget Oculus Go headset at its launch in 2018 but has otherwise relied on partnerships with existing retailers. The original Oculus Rift headset had demo stations at Best Buy, and display cases for Quest can be found at a number of retailers.
Virtual, mixed, and augmented reality are technologies that need to be tried to be truly understood – and most people still haven’t. Factors like head shape, eyesight, and sensitivity to weight against sinuses can affect how comfortable a given person finds a head-mounted device. Headsets and glasses could be ideal for a physical retail strategy.
It’s also possible this is just a new area for employees within Meta’s HQ to relax and play Beat Saber while others watch. But then why is there a product box on the shelf? Let us know if you have any alternative theories in the comments below.