Pico 4 Sales Have Been Disappointing
A Chinese news outlet is reporting that Pico 4 headset sales have been disappointing and have not met the company’s expectations.
The report by Sina Technology is citing “multiple insiders” at Pico privy to the information. According to the report, Pico planned to sell over 1 million headsets in 2022 alone but it is unlikely to meet that target. Even before the disappointing market performance, Pico had already cut down its initial supply order from 2.5 million units to 1.8 million units.
However, this report goes against public statements made by the ByteDance company. In mid-October, just a week before the company launched the headset in the Western markets, it announced that some European preorders would be delayed because of “unprecedented global demand”.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) provided an estimate of Meta Quest headset sales in June this year, projecting that just under 14.8 million units had been sold by then.
.@MetaQuestVR OculusQuest2 is the most successful #VR headset to date. With nearly 15mn units sold since its announcement at @facebook Connect 7 in Sep 2020, the Quest2 has contributed to massive growth in VR sales & consumer adoption🏆
👉VR Sales grew 97% in 2021 & 242% in 1Q22 pic.twitter.com/7dIe42FSo7
— Francisco Jeronimo (He/Him) (@fjeronimo) June 6, 2022
The latest report by the Chinese news outlet states Pico had internal struggles following its acquisition by ByteDance last year. According to the report, the rapid expansion caused “fractional disputes” between Pico’s original staff and the newly added staff. Pico is reportedly still divided with everyone playing their own way, according to a source quoted in the article.
Quoting a former Pico employee, the article says company employees are rarely using their headsets and that they are aware of the gulf that exists “between Pico headsets and Quest 2” in terms of both software and content.
Sina Technology also provided an estimate by a former “senior technical expert” at HT Vive showing that ByteDance loses approximately $140 on every Pico 4 headset. The Meta Quest 2 headset has also been selling at a loss although the price was raised by $100 in August this year.
For ByteDance, the VR hardware market in the West is a completely new terrain. While the Pico 4 headset offers superior hardware, its software and content library are still lagging far behind Meta Quest 2.
Some of the developers working on non-exclusive Quest games are already porting their titles to the Pico store. However, it will be some time before this lineup becomes truly competitive.
To be competitive, ByteDance might have to fund popular and irressitible exclusives in its ecosystem which will take on the likes of Beat Saber and Resident Evil 4. Over the long haul, ByteDance may have to replicate Meta’s path of acquiring entire game studios. However, like Meta’s dimming ad revenue fortunes, ByteDance is also seeing falling revenues from TikTok and this, along with the increasingly difficult global economic conditions, may curtail its XR ambitions, at least in the short term.