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Meta rival Pico teases new VR hardware reveal next week

Pico Neo 3 Pro headset with controllers
Pico Neo 3 Pro headset with controllers (Image credit: Pico)

What you need to know

  • Pico posted a teaser about a new product announcement scheduled at 2 pm GMT on Thursday, Sept. 22.
  • Pico is owned by ByteDance, the company behind TikTok.
  • Pico sells standalone VR headsets that primarily sell in China, but recently expanded to Europe with the Pico 3.
  • Rumors suggest the upcoming Pico 4 lineup could launch worldwide, becoming the first major competitor to the Meta Quest 2 in North America.

Meta's Quest 2 virtual reality console has had it really good for awhile now when it comes to the standalone VR headset market. There's really no other headset that doesn't require a computer that can really compete with it. The standalone VR headset...well, stands alone.

That could change very soon.

ByteDance's Pico VR division posted a teaser image on its official Twitter page on Thursday announcing that they will reveal something that we've all "been waiting for" at 2 pm Greenwich Mean Time on Thursday, Sept. 22. That converts to 5 am PDT / 8 am EDT / 1pm BST.

The Twitter post didn't include a link, but the livestream will be shown on both TikTok Live and YouTube. ByteDance owns TikTok, making this choice unsurprising. And it'll be interesting to see whether the TikTok app makes an appearance on whatever device Pico unveils.

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If you're the betting type who likes to risk money on everything, it could be a sure bet that the thing "we can't wait to show you" is referring to the new Pico 4 headset. Last month, someone leaked some ByteDance photos and hand-driven designs of specs for the Pico 4 Pro headset

The proposed designs show a standalone VR headset that looks similar to the Oculus Quest 2 but with lighter Pancake lenses that deliver more pixel density, a larger viewing field by a difference of five degrees, and a color passthrough camera. 

pico-4-drawing

(Image credit: @SadlyItsBradley)

After originally sticking to the Chinese market, and only recently expanding to Europe in a limited capacity, Pico may soon expand its existing markets in Europe and into new markets in America.

A lot of people were expecting Apple CEO Tim Cook to reveal a new Apple VR headset this September. Because Apple is taking so long to release its Reality Pro device, its absence leaves the door open for Pico to make a bigger name for itself in North America, possibly by leveraging the popularity of TikTok.

If Pico's announcement does bring the Pico 4 to the U.S., Meta will have new competition for its Quest 2 headset, which has allegedly sold over 10 million units since 2020 and recently got a $100 pay increase. UploadVR (opens in new tab) reported earlier this month that Pico has an "aggressive subsidy strategy" to make its new headset more affordable than the Quest 2 to steal Meta's customers.

Danny Gallagher
Freelance Writer, VR/AR

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.