ByteDance’s Pico Debuts Headset To Rival Meta’s Quest 2

Chinese VR start-up Pico, owned by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, has launched a headset intended to directly compete with Meta’s Quest 2 headset.

Such headsets are key to Facebook parent Meta’s plans to develop a “multiverse” based on virtual reality experiences.

The Pico 4 offers more advanced technical specifications than Meta’s Quest 2 and Pico has begun lining up a range of games and VR experiences for users, Pico said in its launch announcement.

Image credit: Pico

High-end specs

The company launched pre-orders for the device on Friday, but initially plans to offer it only in Europe and Asia rather than challenging Meta directly in its own territory. Availability is scheduled from mid-October.

The Pico 4 sells for 429 euros ($422, £382) in Europe, compared to 449.99 euros for the Quest 2, and is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset as the Quest 2 with a refresh rate of up to 90 hertz.

The Pico 4 offers a screen resolution of up to 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye compared to the Quest 2’s 1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye and includes 8GB of RAM compared to 6GB for the Quest 2.

Pico’s device uses RGB cameras for video pass-through, while the Quest 2 uses grayscale cameras.

Pico Worlds

The Chinese firm said it was launching a VR environment called Pico Worlds early next year to compete with Meta’s Horizon Worlds.

It said it also plans to offer a more advanced version called the Pico 4 Pro that includes face- and eye-tracking and which would be suitable for enterprise use.

Pico’s device can be used stand-alone for three hours on a single charge, or can be connected to a gaming PC for higher-end VR experiences.

Pico founder Henry Zhou said the company’s mission was to “make VR accessible to more people”.

Competition

Meta controls the vast majority of the VR headset market at 90 percent, market research firm IDC said in June.

Pico, which was bought by ByteDance last year, reportedly sold about 500,000 VR devices last year and holds about 4.5 percent of the market, putting it in second-place after Meta, IDC said.

IDC said next year will be critical for the VR industry as next-generation headsets from Meta, Pico and Sony compete alongside an expected mixed-reality device from Apple.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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