ByteDance’s new Pico headset is a Quest 2 competitor for Europe and Asia

From The Verge: Pico, the Chinese startup acquired last year by TikTok parent company ByteDance, has a new virtual reality headset on the way. The Pico 4, which will sell starting at €429 (around $425) in several European and Asian countries, is described as a reasonably full-featured but affordable option for games and passive entertainment. A limited preorder opens in August, with general preorders starting in October and the device shipping on October 18th.

ByteDance teased the news of its new headset earlier this week, and the device broadly resembles earlier Pico products, with a self-contained standalone design that can also connect to a PC for high-end VR. But the Pico 4 is smaller and lighter than the Pico Neo3 Link that debuted in May, weighing 295 grams without the strap and 586 grams with it. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor but a beefed-up 8GB of memory and a higher-resolution display with 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye. It also comes in two possible storage sizes instead of one: a 128GB model for €429 and a 256GB model for €499 (about $492). There’s a battery that offers three hours of use and — as with the previous Pico headset — is built into the headset’s back strap to balance it.

While some Pico headsets have shipped in the US, that’s not on the public roadmap for the Pico 4 yet. It will launch in Japan, Korea, and 13 European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. (Prior to its general preorder and retail release, Pico Neo3 Link beta program members will get an advance preorder period starting on September 23rd in these countries.) The headset will be officially announced for the Chinese market on September 27th, and it will roll out in Singapore and Malaysia later this year. That said, the headset has appeared in FCC regulatory filings, so a US release seems highly plausible.

Leland Hedges, general manager for Pico EMEA, describes the Pico 4 as a “first VR headset” for a range of new adopters, geared toward a combination of gaming, fitness (including a fitness tracking system also available on the Neo3 Link), and video. It works with SteamVR on PC and a dedicated Pico app store, and Pico is also launching a social environment called “Pico Worlds” in 2023. Following the acquisition, there’s also some limited integration with TikTok: you can optionally connect your TikTok account with the Pico video app to watch short-form videos in the headset.

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