The Meta Quest 3's next-gen AR upgrade has been delayed

A demonstration of the Meta Quest 3's Augments feature at Meta Connect 2023
(Image credit: Meta)

What you need to know

  • Augments are digital objects that can be placed in the real world, viewable through a Meta Quest 3 headset.
  • Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth said Augments went back to the drawing board back in January because they "weren't good enough."
  • Augments were originally supposed to come out this year but will likely launch next year instead.

When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg originally laid out the vision of the Meta Quest 3, it included plenty of mixed reality content. At the center of that vision was Augments, a series of digital items that could be placed in your home — on the walls, ceiling, floor, tables, or even floating in the air — that would encourage users to keep their headsets on for longer by giving them handy utilities and artwork to admire.

However, Meta CTO Andrew Bostoworth said on a June 17 Instagram AMA that the feature didn't quite turn out the way it was originally envisioned, causing it to be sent back to the drawing board. Part of the problem, as UploadVR points out, is that the Augments feature was originally built upon Meta's Spark Studio platform but the Quest's newest AR tools are a far better fit for what Meta originally wanted to do with Augments.

A demonstration of the Meta Quest 3's Augments feature at Meta Connect 2023

(Image credit: Meta)

Augments were first shown off at Meta Connect 2023, as seen in the GIF above, with Zuckerberg talking about how digital picture frames could be placed on the walls with Facebook picture feeds. Zuckerberg also talked about how a "mirror" could be setup in your workout space, letting you quickly start up Supernatural or one of the other best exercise apps for Meta Quest in a context-sensitive way.

Bosworth didn't give any hints as to what Augments might look like in its refashioned form, but the latest Meta Quest ads give us an idea of what to expect. Meta has been overhauling much of the operating system that runs the Quest experience, called Meta Horizon OS, as it looks to have companies like ASUS ROG and Xbox launch their own VR headsets with Meta's software.

We expect the original vision of Augments to remain in its final form when the feature eventually launches—likely next year—and could even transition to Meta's upcoming AR glasses when that product launches in a few years.

Many of Meta's upgrades for the Quest, particularly the mixed reality feature, seem like they are being made in advance of better, more comfortable hardware that people would want to wear all day. Augments could be a huge paradigm shift in how people get their daily information instead of turning to smartphone apps.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu