ByteDance Cancels Its Next Generation Pico Headset
ByteDance’s Pico has reportedly canceled its next-generation headset, the Pico 5.
According to a report by The Information, the company decided to scrap its next-generation headset because sales for the current Pico 4 headset had fallen “short of ByteDance’s expectations”.
The report also states that the company is still planning to release a cheaper refreshed Pico 4 headset version. However, the report didn’t provide any details of what to expect from the new headset.
The Pico 4 headset was set to hit the US market last year but the launch was postponed following the congressional hearing into ByteDance’s TikTok subsidiary. As the campaign season heats up in the U.S., TikTok is still facing political heat and it is unlikely ByteDance will have any traction with its other projects in the U.S. market.
According to the Information report, ByteDance is still committed to a long-term “Swan” concept, a high-end headset that draws inspiration from Apple’s Vision Pro headset. This Apple competitor will be the main focus of ByteDance’s hardware development efforts and will incorporate “cutting-edge technologies”. The Information reports that the Swan project is “still largely experimental and conceptual” and the company has not provided any definite timeline within which it could be productized and commercialized.
In November, ByteDance axed a large part of Pico staff while others were moved to other jobs in ByteDance. The Information now reports that about 400 staff were laid off while another 600 were transferred to other departments, slashing Pico’s headcount by 60% from 1800 to 800.
The layoffs majorly affected the VR content teams at Pico. In what was billed as a “restructuring”, Pico’s in-development Beat Saber competitor was canceled while the VR company’s first major exclusive, Ubisoft’s Just Dance VR, was transferred to an undisclosed new partner.
Meanwhile, new apps have been landing on Pico 4 despite the layoffs such as YouTube VR, VRChat, and Arizona Sunshine. The contracts for these apps were likely decided months ago.
ByteDance has assured that the Pico platform will continue operating normally and offer users “top-notch services”. However, the company did not divulge any details on what the new headset will encompass or whether it would launch a new headset powered by the XR2 Gen2 chipset.
If The Information report proves accurate, then it would appear that ByteDance is pivoting towards a longer-term strategy where it is looking to compete with Apple in the development of general “spatial computing” while moving away from its short-term competition with Meta’s VR offerings.
Its Pico 4 refresh has most likely been in development for a long time and will likely be a low-cost headset that competes with Meta’s Quest 3 Lite. We are likely not going to see virtual reality gaming development on the scale we have witnessed with Meta as ByteDance scales down its content investment to a much lower level than even under the Pico 4 headset.https://virtualrealitytimes.com/2023/12/14/bytedance-cancels-its-next-generation-pico-headset/https://virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Pico-G3-Headset-600x338.pnghttps://virtualrealitytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Pico-G3-Headset-150x90.pngBusinessByteDance’s Pico has reportedly canceled its next-generation headset, the Pico 5. According to a report by The Information, the company decided to scrap its next-generation headset because sales for the current Pico 4 headset had fallen “short of ByteDance’s expectations”. The report also states that the company is still planning to...Sam OchanjiSam Ochanji[email protected]AdministratorVirtual Reality Times