Meta Quest adds support for Apple’s Spatial Video ahead of Vision Pro launch

Apple’s brand-new Vision Pro headset has lost one of its competitive advantages over rivals, as Meta announced today that it, too, will add support for spatial video playback on its more affordable Meta Quest. Spatial video, also known as stereoscopic videos, are videos Apple customers themselves can film with any iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max. Support for the feature rolled out with the release of iOS 17.2 in December, letting users film in three dimensions, so they could later relive their favorite memories through Apple’s mixed-reality headset.

While Meta’s adoption of the feature is a win for Apple in making spatial video more of a standard for 3D recordings, it also makes Meta’s headset more competitive with Apple’s Vision Pro. Starting at $3,500, but costing closer to $4,600 with the necessary add-ons and accessories, as The New York Times reports, Apple’s headset is out of reach for many consumers. Meta’s Quest line-up, by comparison, has lower-cost options including the currently $250 Quest 2, $500 Quest 3 and $1,000 Quest Pro.

Apple’s spatial video will be supported on Meta Quest devices via the v62 software update that’s beginning to roll out now, Meta says. Afterward, customers will be able to upload their spatial video recordings to their Meta headset using the Quest mobile app, allowing them to experience their memories in 3D. Meta says the uploaded content will be converted for playback on the Meta Quest hardware and stored in the cloud, and users will be able to select the videos from the “Files” menu when they want to watch them.

In addition, users will be able to manage their videos from the Meta Quest mobile app gallery or the new spatial videos section of the Files menu on your headset. Meta also created some demo videos that customers can view to get a taste of the experience, even if they don’t own an iPhone 15 Pro device.

Other improvements in the coming update include support for external gamepads, including PlayStation, Xbox and others. PlayStation 5 DualSense Wireless Controllers and PlayStation 4 DualShock will also gain enhanced support, Meta says. The gamepad can connect both via Bluetooth or USB-C and can be used with games like Halo Infinite or Forza Horizon 5 with the Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) App. (The latter requires a supported headset and an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership.)

Facebook livestreaming is also now available to all Meta Quest users, after its original release in the v56 update, the company noted. Users will be able to “go live” from the Camera icon in the Universal Menu, so they can stream their VR activities to their friends. Those streaming to YouTube will now also see their chats while livestreaming with the new update.

Plus, Meta Quest users will now be able to perform common actions by looking down at their palm and then performing a simple gesture — like a short pinch to show and hide the Universal Menu or a long pinch to recenter the display. This change is likely Meta’s response to Vision Pro’s navigation capabilities, which include operating the device by hand, voice or by sight (eye tracking).

The timing of Meta’s support for spatial video is interesting, coming one day before the public launch of Apple’s Vision Pro. The addition is a mixed bag for Apple — it will make iPhone 15 Pro devices a more compelling buy if spatial videos can be viewed on other VR devices. But it could also potentially sour customers on spending big bucks on the Vision Pro, if they already have a Meta Quest headset or are in the market for new VR gear. While Apple’s Vision Pro may offer better video quality than lower-end devices, it remains to be seen how many customers are willing to pay for the upgrade.