Meta and Qualcomm strike deal to make custom virtual reality chips for metaverse applications

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Facebook parent Meta and Qualcomm will work on making virtual reality chips for various metaverse applications.
Ercin Erturk | Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Meta and Qualcomm are teaming up to develop custom chipsets for virtual reality products, the companies announced on Friday.

The two U.S. technology giants have signed a multi-year agreement “to collaborate on a new era of spatial computing,” using Qualcomm’s “extended reality” (XR) Snapdragon technology. Extended reality refers to technologies including virtual and augmented reality, which merge the physical and digital world.

“We’re working with Qualcomm Technologies on customized virtual reality chipsets — powered by Snapdragon XR platforms and technology — for our future roadmap of Quest products,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said in a press release.

The Quest products are Meta’s line of virtual reality headsets. The Meta Quest 2 headset currently uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chipset.

Since its rebrand in 2021, Facebook-parent Meta has staked its future on the metaverse — a term that encompasses virtual and augmented reality technology — with the aim of having people working and playing in digital worlds in the near future.

In the smartphone field, companies ranging from Apple to Samsung have designed their own custom processors to differentiate from competitors and create better products than they might have using off-the-shelf chips.

A focus on custom chips by Meta makes sense as it looks to differentiate its headsets and possibly create unique experiences for users.

“Unlike mobile phones, building virtual reality brings novel, multi-dimensional challenges in spatial computing, cost, and form factor,” Zuckerberg said. “These chipsets will help us keep pushing virtual reality to its limits and deliver awesome experiences.”

The length of the deal between the companies and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It comes as Meta gears up to launch a new virtual reality headset in October, even as losses widened in its Reality Labs division, which includes its VR business, in the second quarter of the year.

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