VR news of the week: Quest 3 leaks, Google XR in disarray, and Pico pivots

Mark Zuckerberg showing off the Meta Quest 3 headset
(Image credit: Mark Zuckerberg on Instagram)
VR news of the week

As part of a brand new series, Android Central Senior Editors Michael Hicks and Nick Sutrich are rounding up all of the news on hardware, game announcements, leaks, and cool updates related to the Meta Quest 3, Oculus Quest 2, and other VR headsets. 

Excitement for the Meta Quest 3 is ramping up. This week alone, a Quest 3 unit leaked outside of Meta's offices and a retailer accidentally spoiled the potential October launch date for the headset. With Meta Connect 2023 just a month away, we're sure to see more leaks pop up soon.

Beyond that, Gamescom showed us plenty of upcoming Quest 2 game releases, our favorite VR puzzle series' third entry launched, Pico decided to copy Apple instead of Meta, and a Business Insider report proved that the next Google Glass is still years away, if it ever comes. 

Without further ado, here is Android Central's first VR news roundup of the week, with many more to come!

The Quest 3 appears in the wild...and on Amazon's storefront

A leak of the Meta Quest 3 in its retail box

(Image credit: @ZGFTECH on X)

Last year, someone found a Quest Pro in a hotel room before launch, giving away a bunch of details. This year, history is repeating itself as someone found and unboxed a Meta Quest 3

We already know a lot about the Quest 3 from Meta's official unveiling in June. But from this unboxing, we got a real-world glimpse of how comfortably thin it looks, at the cloth strap with dual rear portions that will cup your head, a silicone face pad (instead of the Quest 2's awful foam), and its new ringless controllers. We also know that the official box uses recyclable materials and doesn't appear to have any other accessories in the box, such as a glasses spacer.

Also, courtesy of XR Daily News, we know that someone spotted a temporary Amazon listing of the Quest 3 that showed a Tuesday, October 10 release date. Just two weeks after Meta Connect, this would be a plausible Quest 3 release date if the leak is real and not just a placeholder. 

Google has multiple smart glasses prototypes in production...and it's a mess

The new Google smart glasses teased at Google I/O 2022

Google's cancelled Iris VR/AR glasses prototype, demoed at I/O 2022 (Image credit: Google)

According to Business Insider sources at Google, the company has at least four separate XR or AR prototypes in production, made by multiple teams that aren't allowed to communicate with one another.

Google is developing the software for Samsung's XR headset, and the team on "Project Moohan" is firewalled from the other mixed-reality divisions because Samsung doesn't want Google using its technology for their own hardware. And after Samsung delayed this headset to make it better compete with the Apple Vision Pro, some Google employees have allegedly lost faith they can redesign it so quickly.

At the same time, Google is developing separate Micro XR technology in two projects ("Betty" and "Barry") that it hopes to sell to a hardware partner, possibly Samsung. And a separate Google division run by a former Magic Leap executive is making its own smart glasses. Ideally, one of these prototypes will pan out, but some Google engineers are calling the whole situation a "weird bureaucratic mess."

Pico pivots to hand tracking

UploadVR reports that Pico is "switching its focus from controllers to hand tracking" in the wake of the Apple Vision Pro announcement. Up until now, the Pico 4 has been a Quest 2 lookalike device focused on controller-based gaming, but Pico's alleged low sales could see them looking for an alternative.

Apple's hands-only console may encourage developers to focus on hand tracking anyway, and Meta has focused on making the Quest 2 hand tracking much faster with recent updates. Now, Pico plans to pull "a majority of developer funding away from games which only support tracked controller input."

New game reveals and trailers

The 7th Guest VR arrives on October 19th, and this new trailer shows off footage of the real actors used to recreate the 1992 FMV classic. This spooky puzzler from Vertigo Games (Arizona Sunshine II, After the Fall) could be one of our 2023 favorites simply by modernizing this ambitious game and reimagining the notoriously difficult puzzles.

Toast Interactive announced Max Mustard, a "Made for VR" platformer that evokes past favorites like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Lucky's Tale. The devs promise they are "maxing out the performance for shaders and polycount" for what the Quest 2 can handle. It's "coming soon."

Announced at the Future Games Show, Tin Hearts VR has a distinct Lemmings vibe. It's a "poignant narrative adventure starring a troupe of mischievous metal soldiers, and it's coming to PSVR 2, Quest 2, and PC VR. 

This mysterious multiplayer game from Fast Travel Games (Cities VR, Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines) won't be officially announced until September, but the above teaser already has us intrigued and very creeped out. 

We're still playing I Expect You to Die 3 for ourselves (available on the Quest store as of this week), but I Expect You to Die 2 is one of our all-time favorite Quest 2 games, and early reviews for the sequel are extremely positive. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, Wearables & AR/VR

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on wearables and fitness. Before joining Android Central, he freelanced for years at Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, and Digital Trends. Channeling his love of running, he established himself as an expert on fitness watches, testing and reviewing models from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, Suunto, and more.