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Would you believe a VR headset outsold AirPods during Black Friday? It happened

Meta's Quest 3 emerges as a dark horse, dominating Black Friday sales over Apple's AirPods. Here's what that means for you and me.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
Meta Quest 3
June Wan/ZDNET

If I were to tell you that a VR headset outsold AirPods and AirPods Pro at Amazon over the Black Friday weekend, you'd think it was crazy talk. But it's true.

I'm starting to think this thing might be a thing.

Also: Meta's $500 Quest 3 is the mainstream VR headset I've been waiting for, and it delivers

The VR headset in question is the Meta Quest 3, the brand new VR hotness coming out of the Facebook company's VR labs.

We actually listed both the Meta Quest 2 and Apple's AirPods Pro (2nd generation) as our best picks for the entire Black Friday and Cyber Monday extravaganza.

Also: I replaced my boring workouts with Meta Quest's Supernatural app, and can't imagine going back

While Amazon doesn't show sales numbers for everything, it does for some products:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

We took a look at the numbers for AirPods and AirPods Pro, and then compared them to the substantially less expensive Quest 2 and the new Quest 3. Here are the astonishing results:

David Gewirtz/ZDNET

I have to admit, I'm surprised. Yes, the entry cost for the VR-curious has gone down, but we're talking about sales of 160,000+ of these Meta Quest headsets in just the past month on Amazon. That's a lot for something that feels like a shoe strapped to your forehead.

Clearly, it's nowhere near PlayStation sales numbers, but you don't have to fasten a PlayStation to your head to use it. That said, according to Amazon, the PlayStation VR2 add-on sold only about 2,000 units in the past month (the older, discontinued PlayStation VR add-on sold 400 units in the past month).

Also: Apple's Vision Pro: A concept prototype with this enormous potential

The demand for the Quest devices could be attributed to Apple's announcement of its way more expensive (and not yet available) Vision Pro. But then you'd think that a rising tide would raise all boats, meaning that the PS VR2 should have also had bigger numbers even though the PlayStation is a super popular platform. But it didn't. The Quest 2 and 3 just decimated the PlayStation VR2 in terms of sales.

And that all leads me to…

A very special announcement

I'm proud to announce that my wife and I are expecting… a Quest 3. Yes, it was actually reading these numbers that convinced me to order the little bouncing baby headset.

Also: Best VR headsets: Expert tested and reviewed

I have tons of questions and need to see what the fuss is about for myself -- and for you. Stay tuned in 2024 for a series of articles where I look at the Quest 3, answer all of your (and my) questions, and help us all get a better handle on why this thing might well be a thing.

Did you ask Santa for a Quest 2 or 3 this year? Are you excited about the affordability of this device vs. the upcoming Apple one? Have you been using one for a while? What interests you most about these devices? What questions do you have that we should be exploring? Please let us know in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter on Substack, and follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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