Pico, the subsidiary of ByteDance that owns TikTok, has teased the announcement of a new VR headset for September 22. The Pico 4 could be a serious competitor to the Meta Quest Pro expected for the month of October.
Chinese manufacturer Pico is set to unveil a new VR headset just weeks before the announcement of Meta’s next headset. The subsidiary of ByteDance which also owns TikTok teased the arrival of a new virtual reality headset on September 22.
Tough competition then looms between the two virtual reality devices. In effect, the Pico 4 which will work autonomously like the Meta Quest Pro should be launched worldwide. Priced more affordably than Meta’s headset, the Pico 4 might just try to upstage it.
The Pico 4 and Pico 4 Pro would both be announced on September 22
Pico’s Twitter account announced that: “The long-awaited moment has arrived! We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for you. Stay tuned on September 22, 2022”. The announcement will be broadcast on YouTube and obviously on TikTok Live from 14h, metropolitan France time. Pico has not officially confirmed that this will be its new VR headset. Nevertheless, the shared poster does show the shape of a virtual reality headset.
Pico has yet to fully establish itself in the international market outside of China. After limiting its sales to the Chinese market, the manufacturer recently launched its stand-alone Pico Neo 3 Link headset in some European markets. It arrived in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain.
Thus, the Pico 4 expected for next week should arrive in the United States and Europe. Moreover, the manufacturer would have planned two models: Pico 4 and Pico 4 Pro. Both would be serious competitors to the Meta Quest 2 which is now $100 more expensive and the upcoming Quest Pro. Anyway, we still have little information on the Pico 4 and the Meta Quest Pro, several prototypes of which were recently forgotten in a hotel room.
Upcoming rival Oculus Quest 2 pre-orders appear online
You can now pre-order the Pico 4, a Oculus Quest 2 alternative that could go hand in hand with the Cambria project. While the listing doesn’t reveal a final price, it does hint that we’ll know more about the new VR headset in a few weeks.
The rival of the Pico 4 Oculus Quest 2 is now referenced at the Chinese retailer Taobao. Unfortunately, the page quotes a fictional price of ¥9,999 (about $1,500) rather than a final MSRP. However, promotional material suggests a September 27 reveal, which means that some sort of unveiling may be on the horizon.
Bytedance, the same company that owns TikTok, hasn’t officially announced its Pico 4 plans, so apply the usual pinch of salt to this pre-order news. Still, that’s not to say the listing isn’t legit, as the retailer’s information matches recent Oculus Quest 2 rival rumors.
The Pico 4 could steal some of the thunder from the Quest 2 if ByteDance creators play their cards right, but there’s a chance it could trade blows with the Quest Pro as well. Eye and face tracking can give the VR headset the edge it needs to take on Meta’s high-end goggles, not to mention it’ll potentially cost a lot less than its Metaverse-focused opponent.
The Quest 2 is still one of the best VR headset options on the market, and its player base consists of both gaming PC enthusiasts and standalone VR fans. That said, the company is no doubt skating on thin ice right now, as its decision to implement a price increase could hurt current-gen sales.
If VR gamers end up moving from Quest 2 to competitors like the Pico 4 and Valve Index, it’ll be up to future devices like the Quest Pro and the so-called Oculus Quest 3 to win them back.
Meta’s next VR headset, the Quest Pro, has reportedly been leaked
The history of technological innovation is paved with leaks about future products. And in this story, the prototypes forgotten by testers and engineers in a bar, on the seat of a taxi or elsewhere occupy a place of choice.
This time, the story takes place in a hotel, where a tester would have forgotten the prototype of the next virtual reality headset Meta Quest Pro.
The abandoned prototype, which was later claimed by its rightful owner, appears to correspond to “Project Cambria”. Meta had mentioned this headset project recently, in content relating to virtual reality and the metaverse
The interior design of the device appears to be shaped like a “halo” – much like the PlayStation VR and PlayStation VR 2 headsets – allowing the screens to hang in front of the user’s eyes by distributing the weight around their head, rather than relying on a goggle-like mounting system that clamps the head-mounted display against the user’s face and nose, as the Quest 1 and Quest 2 did.
Towards a new era of accessories?
A new flat and angled location for the user’s thumb also seems to have been added, which I’m personally looking forward to testing. I’ve never found a comfortable place to put that thumb without accidentally pressing a button on the Quest 2 controller.
Finally, we can see on the side of the controller a small indentation with what looks like three metal contacts. This pogo-pin type connector could, if we give free rein to our imagination, accommodate additional accessories such as new sensors or control peripherals. Imagine, for example, a two-handed gun stock that could connect to both controllers at once for an FPS-like experience, or a fishing rod handle with a built-in reel you could spin.
Third-party accessory makers have been trying to create such products for years, but they’ve run into a lack of manufacturer support. That could be about to change.
Next in October?
What can be said is that Facebook’s new VR headset appears to sport a slimmer profile, and it promises some intriguing changes.