Unofficial Quest Pro render on the left, new, alleged pre-release images of the secretive headset on the right.
It’s always worth rooting around down the side of the bed, or in the drawers, when you stay in a hotel room. Who knows what exciting items may have been forgotten by the previous guest? Like, for instance, a top-secret Oculus VR headset. That’s what happened to hotel worker Ramiro Cardenas, who claims to have discovered and revealed to the world that Project Cambria is most likely due to be called the Meta Quest Pro. Then he made an unboxing video. Update: We spoke to Cardenas about how it all happened—see below.
The headset was originally teased last October, with the Project Cambria moniker, when Mark Zuckerberg said it would be sold at the “high end of the price spectrum.” At the time, we learned that it would possess cameras that send high-res full-color video to its screens, alongside face and eye-tracking, and all manner of exciting algorithms.
Now, a full month before its intended announcement date, the new device is available for all to see thanks to one especially forgetful hotel guest. A very excited Ramiro Cardenas, who posted the video as Zectariuz Gaming, pulls the new headset and handheld controllers from their box, while whispering in delight.
This new-look Meta Quest Pro headset looks like something a mad inventor would wear in a 1980s Disney live-action movie about a man who accidentally invents time travel. The controllers, meanwhile, seem to have dropped the hollow hoop design of the Meta Quest 2 and gone for a much simpler, neater form-factor.
While covering up identifying details, the pictures accompanying the video do include one that reveals the legend, “NOT FOR RESALE - ENGINEERING SAMPLE.” It’s in pretty swish packaging considering! But it does suggest the product may be close to release.
The Verge reports that Cardenas told them he was able to reunite the headset with the person who had stayed in the hotel room, but not before—you know—uploading photos and a video of the device to Facebook to blow up Meta’s plan to reveal it during October’s Meta Connect.
It’s quite the coincidence that Cardenas, and his Zectariuz Gaming page, had already taken a keen interest in the various forms of the Oculus. We have reached out to him to ask how this serendipitous event occurred.
We have of course also reached out to Meta to ask if they’ll bring forward the Pro’s announcement now, and indeed whether they’ll be mounting the engineer’s head on a pike outside their HQ. (We might not have phrased it exactly like that.)
Updated: 09/12/22, 16.28 p.m. ET: Ramiro Cardenas got back to us, to tell us more about how the whole thing happened.
It turns out, despite previous reporting, the bag in which the device was found was in the hallway, outside the hotel room. “It was mistaken as trash,” Cardenas told Kotaku, “since [it was] a large black bag, alone in the hallway for hours, until guests complained that it was in the way.”
“Normal process is to just throw it away in the dumpster,” Cardenas continues, but said that when checking to see if it contained liquids, he noticed the Oculus boxes. He thought to himself, “Great, someone bought Oculus Quest and threw away the boxes,” but then noticed that the boxes were black. He remembered, “those are not even on the market yet,” so brought them to the hotel’s back office to confirm the boxes weren’t empty. This, he says, is the video.
“Then I put it back, logged that it was found [and] requested whoever claims it provide ID and specify what items were inside the bag,” Cardenas told us. “There was no way someone would guess.”
Later, the owner claimed them, and with “not even a thank you,” left the hotel.
Cardenas adds that he didn’t turn the Meta Quest Pro on, nor try it, and only ever opened the box to confirm it wasn’t trash. But adds, “Did I wish I kept it? Yes. Did it hurt returning it? Yes.”
Some damned fine honesty, there. Because who wouldn’t have been tempted to take home what was, after all, dumped in a hallway like trash? Let’s hope Meta does the decent thing and makes sure Cardenas gets his own Meta Quest Pro at launch.