Right now, the Meta Quest 2 seems to be the reigning champion in the fight for accessible virtual reality devices. However, Pico's headsets are starting to gain a noticeable amount of ground in the European market.
One strong sign that Meta should start gearing up for an economic showdown appeared on Pico's Twitter feed on Friday. The company announced that pre-sales for its Pico 4 and Pico 4 Pro headsets may be delayed "due to unprecedented global demand."
"We are working tirelessly to ensure that demand is satisfied by the end of October," the Tweet thread said. "We strongly recommend that you keep your back order in place at your preferred retailer as we will be prioritizing existing back orders first."
Pico noted in a sly reply that if customers can't wait that long to strap on their VR headsets, "Neo 3 Link is available in stock right now."
Pico announced the pending release of the Pico 4 standalone headset in September in 15 countries by October 18 and Singapore and Malaysia by the end of 2022. It's bound to at least gain an edge on the Oculus Quest 2 in Germany since Meta put a halt on sales of its VR devices there in 2021 as a proactive measure "due to pending discussions with the regulator," according to a press release.
The Pico 4 clearly wants to make itself a direct competitor with the Meta Quest 2 and other future standalone devices with features like a 90Hz refresh rate, a "4K+" screen and pancake optic lens that allow for closer viewing. Pico even tried to give its VR headset a better front and back device balance, something that's always been a minor problem for Meta's device especially if you're not using the elite head strap.
Unfortunately, that competition won't get off to a global start because Pico's headset is not getting a full global release. It was rumored that the Pico 4 would be available to American customers but it's not going to happen just yet probably due to its parent company ByteDance, the owners of the mobile video app TikTok. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the Chinese company's servers and systems to determine if they pose any threat to American consumers and if ByteDance decides not to move its servers from China to America, then the Pico 4 surely won't be available for purchase.
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Danny Gallagher is a freelance tech, game and comedy writer based out of Dallas, Tex. He's written features for places like CNET, Cracked, Maxim, Mandatory and The Onion AV Club. He's also written material for games produced by Jackbox Games and SnapFingerClick.