Meta's ambitions for the Quest 3 Lite may have hit a major roadblock

A Meta Quest 3 with a China flag button on the front
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Meta's Quest 3 Lite is reportedly no longer coming to China.
  • Tencent supposedly partnered with Meta to sell the headset in China with the Chinese company handling services while Meta handled hardware.
  • The new budget headset is said to use the same chipset as the Quest 3 with the rest of the hardware being similar to the Quest 2.

This year could have been a hallmark year for Meta. A report back in November stated that the company's products and services could return to China for the first time in 14 years, starting with the Meta Quest 3 Lite, a new budget VR headset from the company.

Now, according to a new report from Sina Finance (via UploadVR), Meta's partnership agreement has fallen through and the company will no longer be selling the Quest 3 Lite in China. The original report detailed that Meta filed a partnership agreement with Tencent, the company that Nintendo currently partners with to sell the Switch in China. Meta would take some of the hardware sales while Tencent handled games and services revenue.

If true, the news would be great for ByteDance as its VR subsidiary, Pico, is currently being restructured to better compete with Apple Vision Pro and other similar premium-level headsets. That would mean Pico continues to operate as the best way to experience VR content in China. It sells several VR headsets at varying price levels, like the Pico 4.

A mockup of the Meta Quest 3 Lite

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Meta Quest 3 Lite is likely still in development for other regions of the world, though, and would usher in a proper budget-friendly replacement for the Meta Quest 2. While the new headset retains many design features of the Quest 2, it would feature the same faster Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset from the Quest 3, making it 100% more powerful than the Quest 2.

That would be great news for developers and Meta, as the Quest 2 remains the best-selling VR headset even through the Holiday 2023 time period thanks to its low price of $249. The Quest 3, by comparison, retails for $499. A more powerful headset would mean that more developers can move on to making bigger and more complex games, meaning we could start seeing more Quest 3-exclusive games if the headset were to launch sometime this year, as rumored.

Android Central has reached out to Meta for a comment on this, and they didn't get back to us in time for publication. We will update the article once we have more information.

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