Meta’s new $199 Quest 2 price is a steal for the VR-curious

For just $199, you could be having as much fun as this paid model.
Enlarge / For just $199, you could be having as much fun as this paid model.

Meta has announced it’s permanently lowering the price of its aging Quest 2 headset to $199 for a 128GB base model, representing the company’s lowest price yet for a full-featured untethered VR headset.

The Quest 2, which launched in 2020 at $299, famously defied tech product convention by increasing its MSRP to $399 amid inflation and supply chain issues in mid-2022. Actual prices for the headset at retail have fallen since then, though; Best Buy offered new units for $299 as of last October and for $250 by the 2023 post-Thanksgiving shopping season, for instance.

And the Quest 2 is far from the company’s state-of-the-art headset at this point. Meta launched the surprisingly expensive Quest Pro in late 2022 before dropping that headset’s price from $1,499 to $999 less than five months later. And last year’s launch of the Quest 3 at a $499 starting price brought some significant improvements in resolution, processing power, thickness, and full-color passthrough images over the Quest 2.

But for how long?

Those looking to get the Quest 2 at its new bargain MSRP should keep in mind that Meta may not be planning to support the aging headset for the long haul. Meta is currently winding down support for the original Quest headset, which launched in 2019 and no longer has access to important online features, security updates, and even new apps. The Quest 2 is just 18 months younger than the original Quest, and the new price might represent an effort to clear out defunct stock in favor of newer, more powerful Quest options.

The Quest 2 (left) has a 40 percent thicker profile than the pancake-optics on the Quest 3 (right).
Enlarge / The Quest 2 (left) has a 40 percent thicker profile than the pancake-optics on the Quest 3 (right).


Then again, plenty of developers are still targeting apps and games at the comparatively large audience on the Quest 2, which sold an estimated 15 million units through mid-2022, roughly on par with the Xbox Series S|X in roughly the same time period. But there are some signs that Quest 2 software is selling relatively slower than those hardware numbers might suggest amid reports that many Quest purchasers are no longer active users. And Meta continues to lose massive amounts of money on the VR segment, while Sony is reportedly halting production of the PS5-tethered PSVR2 headset amid weaker than expected demand.
The Quest 2’s new price is the first time Meta has offered a headset below the “$250 and 250 grams” target former Meta CTO John Carmack once envisioned for a “super cheap, super lightweight headset” that could bring in the mass market (the Quest 2 weighs in at 503 grams). The new price is also stunningly cheap when you consider that, just six or seven years ago, VR-curious consumers could easily end up paying $1,500 or more (in 2024 dollars) for a high-end tethered headset and the “VR-ready” computer needed to power it.

If you’ve waited this long to see what virtual reality gaming is all about, this price drop is the perfect opportunity to indulge your curiosity for a relative pittance. Heck, it might be worth it even if your headset ends up, like mine, a Beat Saber machine most of the time.

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