ByteDance released its Pico Neo 3 VR headset to Europe in early 2022 and quickly became a respectable competitor to the dominance of Meta Quest 2. With many consumers (and the European Union itself) reluctant to jump on the Meta train, Pico headsets started to look more and more intriguing.
Hot on the heels of Pico Neo 3, ByteDance is reportedly lining up a new VR device, sensibly called Pico 4, with the potential to leave the Quest 2 in its wake. Alongside this news was the strongly suggested existence of a Pico 4 Pro. Information leaked and published on WeChat by a Chinese analyst state Pico 4 and Pico 4 Pro will be lighter and smaller than Quest 2, in part due to its use of plastic Pancake lenses in place of Quest 2’s polycarbonate Fresnel lenses. Along with this upgrade, Pico 4 appears set to offer greater pixel density, improving on Quest 2’s 773 ppi to 1200 ppi, as well as color, not monochrome, passthrough capabilities.
Analyst and well-regarded VR news leaker Skarred Ghost also had some tidbits to offer regarding Pico 4, namely its physical design and that of its controllers. Sleek and elegant, the controllers, as depicted in images anonymously leaked to Skarred Ghost, are not radically different from Quest 2’s controllers but lean toward a more streamlined and ergonomic form.
A Subsidy Set to Compete
One area in which many thought Quest 2 was untouchable was its low retail price. The leaks found on WeChat claim all these technological advancements will raise the manufacturing cost of Pico 4 well above Quest 2’s retail price but that ByteDance will implement an “aggressive subsidy” program to keep the cost of Pico 4 within range of the average VR consumer. Quest 2’s recent $100 price increase makes this all the more feasible.
Pico 4 is being set up as a prime competitor to Meta Quest 2, which recently saw a significant price hike. Meta is gearing up to launch four new VR (and likely AR) devices within the next few years, positioning Quest 2 as its entry-level model.