Quest Pass looks to be the Xbox Game Pass of VR

A Meta Quest 2 alongside a physical library of game cases
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Over the years, consumers have slowly gotten used to paying a subscription for a service that allows them to enjoy a plethora of goods they once had to pay individually for. We've seen it everywhere from the music industry to the movie industry and, throughout that adaptation period, we've also seen services like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Game Pass take it to gaming, as well.

Meta's Quest 2 is a console in every way but, unlike the Xbox or PlayStation, there's no equivalent subscription service to let gamers play games for a bundled cost. That looks to be changing as Meta is reportedly testing out a Quest Pass subscription service that'll let gamers choose two games for "free" each month and keep them as long as they're subscribed.

That business model is identical to the now-lower tiers of PlayStation Plus which provide a preset list of free games every month. There's no word on pricing yet but, if done right, this could be a great new way for VR gamers to experience full games without paying the full retail price.

Project Apollo

Info about the Quest Pass from the Meta Quest app

(Image credit: @ShinyQuagsire via Twitter)

If you've got the Meta Quest app installed on your phone right now, you can click this link to go to the Project Apollo page within the app. For most people this will likely show up as a flat gray page without any information but, for a select few, this page provides details for what could potentially be called Quest Pass.

Details are light at the moment but it appears that Meta will allow gamers to choose any two apps or games every month from the massive list of best Quest games and keep them in their libraries permanently so long as they're subscribed to Quest Pass.

Given that we're expecting at least 41 new apps and games when the Quest 3 launches later this Fall, it certainly would behoove Meta to offer some type of subscription service so gamers can get in on the action without having to pay full retail price for every experience.

Quest Pass is almost identical to the PlayStation Plus model with one big exception: gamers get to choose the games, not Meta.

And while this type of subscription service would be a first for the Quest, it's not the first of its kind in VR. HTC has been offering a subscription service for years called Viveport which provides a more Netflix or Xbox Game Pass-style service.

The difference between these is that Netflix, as you likely know, offers unlimited access to anything in its library. But, like Netflix, games and apps on Viveport and Xbox Game Pass aren't always there forever.

When your favorite app, game, show, or movie disappears from these types of subscription services, often the only way to continue using or watching it is to buy it outright.

With Quest Pass, users wouldn't ever fall prey to that kind of business model because, like PlayStation Plus, games claimed with a Quest Pass subscription would be in their library forever so long as they continue to subscribe.

Helping boost retention

Playing games on a Meta Quest 2

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Meta recently had a "VR summit" where several executives met and discussed strategies, the follow-up was a presentation for all Reality Labs employees that outlined the company's moves for the next few years.

In that presentation, we found out that the company was dropping the price of the 256GB Quest 2, the Quest Pro, and that several prototype models had been canceled in favor of slimming down the company's hardware profile. In other words, Meta is working toward being more efficient with its releases and focusing on currently-released products instead of the next big thing.

This could be the best way for Meta to keep users coming back for new content every single month.

We also learned that, while the Quest 2 continues to outsell the Xbox and has surpassed the 20 million units sold milestone, newer users aren't playing as often as people who bought the headset earlier in its lifespan.

One complaint I often hear is that VR games are too expensive. Meta recently started offering demos that allow gamers to download full versions of games and play them for a short period of time before deciding if they want to buy the game.

But I've also heard that this period of time simply isn't long enough to make a decision. Alternatively, gamers could also purchase a game outright and play it for up to 2 hours before deciding to get it refunded under the current business model. It's a heck of a lot more consumer-friendly than Sony's awful PlayStation digital games model, that's for sure.

So I think this new model could be a huge boon for developers looking to get their games into more hands and for Meta to keep people coming back and playing more often every month. While we're still waiting on the official Xbox Game Pass app to release for the Quest — which could help keep some headsets on for more hours per month — the Quest Pass is the right way to keep gamers more immersed in actual VR games.

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