Meta slashes prices on the Quest Pro and Quest 2 VR headsets
Meta is initiating price cuts on its VR headsets. Starting March 5, the premium Quest Pro will be retailing for $1000, instead of its previous price of $1,500. The rather significant price drop was announced by Mark Zuckerberg himself on an Instagram channel. He says the move is meant to help “more people get into VR”.
The higher-end 256GB Meta Quest 2 is getting cheaper as well and will be retailing for $429 instead of the previous price tag of $500. All the while, the base 128GB Quest 2 will retain its price tag of $400, which means that a double storage upgrade will set you back only $30. That’s some “popcorn pricing” strategy in action right there.
It is worth pointing out that this 256GB Quest 2 price reduction, as welcome as it is, is still not enough to reach the original Quest 2 pricing. You might remember that last year Meta actually raised prices for the Quest 2. The 128GB one went up from $300 to $400, while the 256GB one went from $400 to $500. Back then, Meta explained the unusual price hikes with higher manufacturing and shipping costs. It also promised that the extra revenue would be used to grow investment in VR research and development.
While we can’t say whether that promise came to be, we know that Meta is pouring a whopping 20% of its total spending in 2023 into the Reality Labs division. There is no doubt that Zuckerberg is investing heavily in VR. In fact, if rumors are to be believed, a new generation Quest headset is expected to drop later this year. This could be part of the reason why Meta is trying to move some existing stock of its current-gen products ahead of the launch.
Regardless, if you want to get into VR on a budget with the excellent and very popular Quest 2 or drop some more money on a Quest Pro, now seems to be a good time to do so.
Absolutely BROKEN Necromancer Gameplay – Diablo 4 Beta – IGN
Counter-Strike 2 may immediately end matches with cheaters – GamesHub
Counter-Strike 2 (CS2), the next evolution of Valve’s, long-running, ever-popular, and lucrative tactical first-person shooting game was revealed in mid-March 2023. But beyond several visual improvements and refinements to the high-stakes game, it appears as if the company is taking the opportunity to implement far stricter measures to counteract cheaters, who utilise third-party tools to gain an unfair advantage.
As spotted by Twitter user Aquarius and reported on by PC Gamer, a line in the source code of CS2 has indicated a new feature that will immediately cancel an in-progress match of Counter-Strike 2 if a player is detected using cheating tools.
The code, which appears to outline the conditions for certain notifications to pop up in-game, includes the phrases ‘Cheater Detected’ and ‘This match has been cancelled by VAC Live’.
‘VAC’ in this instance, of course, is an abbreviation for Valve Anti-Cheat, the company’s proprietary cheat monitoring solution. VAC was first introduced with Counter-Strike in 2002.
As PC Gamer astutely notes, this appears to be Valve taking a page out CS2’s closest competitor at the moment, Valorant, developed by Riot Games. Riot’s anti-cheat measures have included match cancellations since the game’s launch.
Counter-Strike has always been a game with high stakes, requiring exceptional levels of player investment and focus to succeed. Having your multiplayer experience ruined by a lopsided, unfair match can be incredibly demoralising, especially if you’re stuck in it for some time before you can move on. If Valve’s new anti-cheat measures do go ahead, it can only be a positive thing.
Don’t cheat in multiplayer games. That’s a loser move.
Counter-Strike 2 will launch on PC sometime in mid-2023.
Microsoft Ends $1 Xbox Game Pass Offer For First Month of Use – Kotaku
Microsoft’s long-running introductory offer for its Xbox Game Pass subscription platform, which let users try the service out for $1 for the first month before moving onto more expensive payments, has finally come to a close.
As The Verge report, the deal—which applied to both Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and the PC Game Pass—has recently been pulled, with a Microsoft spokesperson saying “We have stopped our previous introductory offer for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and PC Game Pass and are evaluating different marketing promotions for new members in the future”.
What those “different marketing promotions” could be is anyone’s guess, though given the whole point of the $1 deal was get new users on the hook, a natural successor could easily be the Xbox Game Pass Friends and Family scheme, which while still unavailable in the US has been tested in a number of international markets since late 2022.
Anyone signed up for Game Pass will see months from existing subscriptions converted into partial months on the sharing plan. If you’re currently signed up for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, every remaining month will turn into 18 days of Game Pass Friends and Family. Those signed up for the piecemeal tiers will see their subscriptions convert into 12 days of Game Pass Friends and Family.
There are some limitations, however. If you’re the account holder, you can only have four additional people on an account at any given time, and can only share with eight unique accounts over the course of a calendar year. And it’s region-locked: The primary account holder can only add members who live in the same country or region.
While that’s not a 1:1 replacement for the $1 offer, which was just a good deal for anyone, it does mean folks recommending Xbox Game Pass to friends or family would have a pretty easy way to get them onboard via their own account.
It sucks to see the $1 deal go away, since I’m sure many/most of you took advantage of it, but if you weren’t ready for the time Xbox decided to start doing stuff like this, you have not been paying enough attention to TV and sports over the last five years.
20th century Japanese poster art – in pictures | Art and design – The Guardian
Putin and his allies love buying art. To help us win the war in Ukraine, we should confiscate it – The Guardian
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