The Meta Quest 3 Lite could cause big problems for Pico in China

A mockup of the Meta Quest 3 Lite
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Meta and Tencent have reached a provisional deal to bring Meta Quest VR headsets to China for the first time.
  • The move comes just after Pico, Meta's biggest potential competitor in the region just slashed hundreds of employees.
  • The debut Meta headset in China could be the Quest 3 Lite, a rumored headset priced lower than the regular Meta Quest 3.

It's been a very long time since Chinese users have been able to use Facebook or any of Meta's products in any capacity, but a provisional deal between tech giant Tencent and Meta could change all that at the end of 2024.

A story from the Wall Street Journal (via UploadVR) says that the Meta Quest 3 Lite will be making its way to China, pending government approval of the deal between Meta and Tencent. Meta will reportedly receive the bulk of the revenue from hardware sales, while Tencent will handle software distribution and receive the lion's share of the revenue on that end.

The Meta Quest 3 Lite is said to be an amalgam of the Quest 2 and Quest 3, sporting the Quest 3's powerful processor but with the Quest 2's lower-quality Fresnel lenses. The idea is that Meta would be able to sell the Quest 3 Lite at a lower cost than the Quest 3, eventually completely replacing the Quest 2 with this lower cost model in all markets.

It's also been rumored that Meta would ship the Quest 3 Lite without controllers, relying entirely on hand tracking just as the Apple Vision Pro will when it debuts in 2024. It's not yet known if this will be the case and this report from the WSJ doesn't specify this detail.

A 2021 mockup render of the Meta Quest List by XRCarlos on X

(Image credit: XRCarlos on X)

The news comes just after major competitor Pico announced it was laying off hundreds of employees. The company will be folding the Pico software team into ByteDance, the parent company of Pico, while Pico's hardware division will remain independent.

Pico allegedly was planning on launching in the U.S. but the company reportedly pulled plans as the U.S. government began banning ByteDance products like TikTok from some devices in the country.

Pico currently enjoys a 50% VR headset market share in China despite lower-than-expected sales in 2023. Sony, meanwhile, holds 19% with the PlayStation VR2, with a smattering of other companies holding onto the rest.

Tencent previously canceled its own VR headset plans after reports that Pico devices weren't selling as well as expected. Meanwhile, the Meta Quest 2 has gone on to sell 20 million units, and reception to the Meta Quest 3 has been positive all-around. It makes sense, then, that Tencent would partner with Meta given that the Quest has been a proven winner in an uncertain market.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu