Pico 4 Officially Announced Today
As was expected, Pico has today announced its next-generation Pico 4 standalone virtual reality headset, complete with the pricing and the company’s content aspirations. The headset aims to go head-to-head with the widely popular Meta Quest 2 headset, the current workhorse in the VR market. The Pico 4 headset is set to launch in Europe and in some Asian countries. There are no plans for a US launch yet.
Pico has been making virtual reality headsets since 2016 but its focus has mainly been on the enterprise market. In 2021, the company was acquired by TikTok owner ByteDance and has since been positioning itself to challenge Meta’s dominance in the virtual reality consumer hardware market. Following the acquisition, the company made the first serious bid for the consumer VR market with its release of the Pico Neo 3 Link standalone virtual reality headset. The Pico Neo 3 Link can also be tethered to a desktop for PC VR gaming functions. The Pico Neo 3 Link was launched for the European market. However, that headset was just a “beta program”.
Now the company is ready with its next-generation Pico 4 headset which has been announced today. The headset is aggressively priced to take on the fairly subsidized Meta Quest 2 headset. Meta recently increased the prices of its Meta Quest 2 headsets but they still remain some of the most affordable in the market.
The headset’s specifications also closely match those of the Quest 2 headset. Beyond the pricing and technical specifications, Pico also has an eye on the content market and wants to be competitive in this area by creating its own content ecosystem.
The Pico 4 headset is priced at €429 for the 128GB model and €500 for the 256 GB model. This is roughly €20 and €50 less than the equivalent Meta Quest 2 headset. The company, therefore, appears keen to undercut Meta’s aggressive pricing strategy for its Quest headsets which has been hugely successful, enabling the company to sell tens of millions of units according to some reports.
Like the Meta Quest 2, the Pico 4 headset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor. However, the Pico 4 headset has 8GB of RAM while Meta’s Quest 2 headset has 6GB of RAM.
The Pico 4 headset also appears to be more compact than Meta Quest 2 thanks to its pancake optics that have considerably reduced the headset’s bulk. The pancake optics enables a folded optical path that translates into a slimmer design.
The Pico 4 headset’s resolution is 2,160 x 2,160 (4.7Mb) per eye which is slightly higher than Meta Quest 2’s 1.832 x 1,920 (3.5MP).
The Pico 4 headset also has a rear-mounted battery.
The table below shows a side-by-side comparison of Pico 4 headset and the Meta Quest 2 headset.
Pico 4 Pricing and Release Date
The Pico 4 headset is priced at €429 for the 128GB version and €500 for the 256GB version. Pre-orders for the general public are set to begin in October.
Users who purchased the Pico Neo 3 Link headset can start pre-ordering the Pico 4 headset as soon as September 23.
The Pico 4 headset is set to be released on October 18th. The initial launch will be in 13 countries in Europe along with Japan and South Korea. Later in the year, launches are planned for Malaysia and Singapore, and eventually, China. There is no information yet on the headset’s launch in the U.S.
Pico 4 Headset Accessories
Apart from the Pico 4 headset, the company is also planning to launch three third-party Pico 4 accessories in 2023. All of these accessories will be priced at €50. The accessories include a fitness tracker that provides for more accurate fitness tracking, a carrying case along with a wireless dongle for wireless PC VR.
Content Library for the Pico 4 Headset
Pico is aiming to go head-to-head with Meta’s Quest line of headsets in both hardware specifications and competitive pricing. Even though Meta has a head-start with its Oculus content ecosystem, Pico also wants to create its own content library that should have a comparable amount of content for its headset.
Pico has announced a number of fresh and upcoming virtual reality games for the headset including Demeo, Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, and Ultimechs.
The ByteDance VR concern also wants to curate fitness content for its virtual reality headset with titles such as All–in–One Summer Sports VR, Les Mills Body Combat, and Just Dance VR.
Pico is planning to launch its Pico World social VR platform next year. The ByteDance VR subsidiary also wants to release a number of exclusive documentaries from the Discovery Channel.