According to a report from The Information, ByteDance subsidiary Pico Interactive is pulling the release of its next consumer-focused standalone headset in effort to no longer compete directly with Meta Quest, instead positioning its next device to compete with Apple’s $3,500 Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the report maintains that TikTok parent ByteDance is canceling Pico’s next VR headset, or what is being referred to as ‘Pico 5’.

It’s said this was in direct response to middling sales of Pico 4, the standalone released in Asia and Europe to compete with Meta Quest 2.

Image courtesy Pico

The paywalled report, as seen by UploadVR, maintains that the company’s pivot towards a high-end Apple Vision Pro competitor will go beyond what it hoped to achieve with Pico 5. The project, codenamed Swan, will include “cutting-edge technologies,” although there’s no clear view on what this entails or when it will arrive.

This follows reports last month of layoffs at Pico that were said to range into the hundreds affecting staff in sales, videos and platform operations. This was seen as a move to restructure the business to focus more on hardware and core technologies.

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Considering today’s report—which thus far hasn’t been confirmed by either Pico or parent company ByteDance—it would seem Pico is following in the footsteps of HTC circa 2019 when the Taiwan-based mobile phone maker-turned-VR hardware company shied away from the consumer VR market just as Meta (then Facebook) was releasing its first version of the Quest standalone headset.

It’s not an easy task going up against Meta though. It appears nobody can really compete with Meta on the low-end—Quest 2 now sells for $250 and the new Quest 3 at $500. The social media empire-owning regularly operates its Reality Labs XR division at a heavy loss, which is handily subsidized by advertising across Facebook and Instagram. Provided previous reports are true, even Samsung may be shooting for the high-end with its upcoming XR headset, built in partnership with Google and Qualcomm.

Launched in late 2022 for €429 (128 GB) and €499 (256 GB), Pico 4 boasts support for around 75 percent of the game library available on Quest. While the Quest competitor has made nominal headway in those regions, the company has never officially launched its VR headsets for consumers in the US as was previously planned.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • xyzs

    Yes. Go for high end. Tired of cost effective products only or $10k p2p business only in VR.

    Thanks AVP to exist.

  • ViRGiN

    But i heard from YouTuber that there will be Pico 5 Pro with 4k per eye, BUT WAIT, THERE IS MORE, and display port. Confirmed info!!

    • Andrey

      Lol, some people on the internet were literally saying to me that “Quest 3 will become obsolete soon because Pico 5 will come out and will be SO MUCH better” in discussions about both Q3 and VR games in general – and they were saying it AFTER all the rumors about changes in ByteDance’s interest towards VR and that all those Pico 5 rumors (about 3 versions) were nothing more than fantasies of a chinese guy from some forum too.
      Well, I still hope they will be able to buy ~3,5k$ Pico’s AVP alternative!

    • grindathotte .

      Maybe they just cancelled the lower-spec versions. The Pico 5 Pro Max specs look good against the Vision Pro.

  • gothicvillas

    They better spend their money and effort to create content rather than new unwanted high end garbage no one wants

  • MackRogers

    Nothing instills more confidence than a company that just failed to enter a product category.

    If you can’t compete with Meta on the low end, you have ZERO shot of competing with Apple on the high end.

    A lot of people here think Samsung/Qualcomm are cooking up an AVP competitor. Keep dreaming idiots.

    • Hussain X

      I believe Samsung/Qualcomm along with Google can compete on the high end. Pico probably can’t. Samsung has the hardware capability. Qualcomm can ensure you can get the most out of the SOC. Google can provide an already exisiting and successful software ecosystem (productivity apps, games, movies, music, cloud) and userbase (already have bought a lot off stuff/services from Google, so also locked in, and so can enjoy/use them on an XR headset without having to rebuy or reacquaint themselves to a new platform). If they can co-operate, they can compete with Apple on the high end along with now Meta (which had to get in early and spend billions just get a foothold and build an ecosystem so it can then be able to compete with the likes of established ecosystems like Apple/Google/Microsoft).

      • MackRogers

        “Qualcomm can ensure you can get the most out of the SOC.”

        You owe me a new monitor if this orange juice I just blew all over it mid sip damages it after reading that comment.

        • Hussain X

          Lol

  • another juan

    I don’t get why media insist that pico is aiming for “apple vision pro”: it would be crazy for any company other than apple getting in the $3500-state-of-the-art-SDK market in 2024. Vision pro is on a league of its own.
    What Bytedance, Google, Samsung, etc are obviously working on are competitors for the still unannounced 2025-26 vision NON-pro.

  • Dragon Marble

    When the dust of XR history settles true visionaries will stand out from all the opportunists.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Exactly what I said in another article that they were most likely going to pivot to counter Apple. But that’s exactly what Facebook is doing too. They know Apple, even at a higher price, is going to be a threat to the new paradigm shift. Cellphones won’t be replaced overnight. But they will be in the coming years.

    No more neck pain looking down, no more hand cramps. All the apps will be in our headsets soon too be glasses. With AI voice activation.

  • Foreign Devil

    VR has gone out of favor with the Chinese government. If Pico claims their next VR headset will have AI capabilities they could get back that huge government funding that allowed them to build the Pico in the first place. In CHina you just have to jump on whatever the current CCP investment trend is. It was VR. . now it’s AI. . EV’s and to a lesser degree 5G. Just throw around those terms and the old bureaucrats will throw around the money. “We are making a 5G, AI, VR headset that can be used to control your EV!”

  • Yeshaya

    I remember just before the Quest 3 came out they leaked the specs and prices of the upcoming Pico devices. They were good enough that I thinking of making the switch, new app library notwithstanding. Ended up being a little too skeptical of the source of the leak and got the Quest, glad I didn’t wait.

  • BananaBreadBoy

    Meta’s road with hardware has been rocky, and Pico couldn’t compete with them then. And they somehow think they’ll lock horns with the most popular consumer tech company on the planet? Please.

  • Oh that would be pretty bad for all the devs that bet on Pico hoping for a new big market for their games…

  • Garhert

    I think this article here misses the part about Pico working on a refreshed version of the Pico 4. We will probably see a cheaper and maybe slightly improved Pico 4 soon. At a low price point, they could still somewhat compete with the Quest 2 and maybe even the Quest 3 Lite.

  • Ben C

    there goes my higher res pcvr DP connection headset with eyetracking and inside out tracking. now theres only the crystal left to fill that void, which is like 50% more expensive then the max pro was announced to be and the software hurdles with that one, keep me from getting it