There were rumors circulating late last month that TikTok parent company ByteDance was set to spin down its China-based VR headset company, Pico Interactive. While the company dismissed those rumors, a new Reuters report maintains Pico is soon set to lay off teams focused on sales, videos and platform operations, which could affect “hundreds” of employees.

Citing three people with direct knowledge of the matter, the report maintains the information comes from an internal meeting from earlier this morning wherein it was allegedly revealed Pico is keeping its VR hardware team whilst folding much of its software team back into ByteDance’s own product development team.

Reuters reports Pico’s CEO Zhou Hongwei said at the meeting that “the VR industry remains in a very early stage,” saying the company’s estimation for the industry and market growth was “too optimistic as (real growth) did not go as fast as expected.”

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It’s not clear how many Pico employees will be laid off, however the report maintains that “hundreds” of staff are expected to be affected globally. Pico additionally confirmed to Reuters it was restructuring the business to focus more on hardware and core technologies, but declined to comment on possible job cuts.

Acquired by TikTok parent company ByteDance in 2021, Pico was tapped to take on Meta with its growing line of standalone VR headsets. Launched about a year ago, the company’s latest headset Pico 4 offered up some pretty compelling specs alongside what is now around 75 percent of the game library available on Quest.

The company’s long-awaited entrance into the US market has still yet to come though, as Pico has only released its consumer-focused headsets in Europe and East Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore).

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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.
  • Rudl Za Vedno

    Oh Jesus :( Does this mean no Pico 5 next year?

    • Tanix Tx3

      They shrink, but they dont sell the whole thing.
      If the development is almost done, I gues, there is still a chance we gonna see the product. But the question remains, will the market outside asia bring in enough profit to sell it there or are they gonna focus one market?

      • Arno van Wingerde

        Depends a bit on price developments and such. Asia does have 60% of the world population, with lower average ages than in the West. Yes, they are much poorer on average, but that is changing rapidly… The US market is definitely important, but less so than people seem to assume in this forum. Pico sells in Europe. I am so far rather disappointed in my Quest 3 (hope that improves if I get my lens inserts), a strong Pico 5 max – if well supported software wise and with access to Steam games might be a good upgrade, particularly for PCVR.

        • ViRGiN

          You are disappointed with Quest 3?
          Then there is no hardware in the world available at any price point that could satisfy you.
          Pico being sold in Europe is absolutetly irrelevant. Nobody cares about it. At least 90% of VR userbase is located in USA. USA is the center of the world, wheter you like it or not.

          How much is ChatGPT used outside of US and Europe?

          • Arno van Wingerde

            It is close to 1000 €/£/$, for the 512 GB model, after lens inserts and a decent strap. Yes, it is a bit better than Q2, but simply not that much better. People for RM2 compared the old version on Q2 to the new version on Q3, but looking at upgraded versions on both sets, I have trouble seeing much difference! I should have guessed from the hyperbole around 30% more resolution (more like 10-15 %, resolution is pixels/mm or degree)… The coming Q3 light had better not be too expensive…
            Oh well, maybe the Q4 gets OLED and a decent resolution increase and usable pass through.
            Why is the picture output for reviews orders of magnitude better than the picture we get to see in the glasses? You would expect that if the cameras seems to view the room OK, this should also look good on screen, not like a TV from the 70s.

    • another juan

      Pico’s CEO statement sounds like they will stop spending on VR headsets in order to focus on future AR glasses

  • ViRGiN

    Cumpetition is grate

  • Sven Viking

    80% of their staff according to CIX.

    • ViRGiN

      It would never happen if they only included display port.
      – SteamVR users

      • Naruto Uzumaki

        Would have happened faster if they included display port they sell every headset at a loss of 100-150$

        • ViRGiN

          It wouldn’t change anything. Displayporters are not a market of any size.

      • kakek

        You have imagined more intervention that PCVR could have made in unrelated topic than actual PCVR users ever made.

        • ViRGiN

          VR community isn’t limited to this website

  • ApocalypseShadow

    If true, that’s some serious fat trimming.

    Good hardware. No exclusive software. No Western market. Looks like a hand tracking future and less gaming if they pivot like I think they will. The war is still brewing to beat Apple. No matter how some think Vision Pro is expensive. Even Facebook has pivoted to try to beat Apple.

    Whomever builds the most successful product to replace the cellphone with all included apps is going to win. That’s where Facebook is concentrating all their R&D on with their glasses and VR mixed reality. I expect Bytedance will do the same.

    • BCCDude

      TBF, I do not think phones will be replaced, at least not by something in the form of a headset no matter how small the form factor can get.

      Not everyone likes wearing something instead of just holding it. The most likely replacement, including Sci-Fi realm is either brain-computer interface (with wireless functions) or just some sort of haptics-capable interactive hologram projector that also works as a phone.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        There’s not going to be some brain interface any time soon. That’s science fiction. And Elon Musk isn’t going to bring that to the masses anytime soon. The majority aren’t going to want a chip in their skull.

        Everyone and their mom that has a cellphone looks constantly down at their phone. AR glasses, even paired with a cellphone in the pocket, with hand tracking and voice control, is going to happen sooner than later.

        It’s why Facebook is working hard on the glasses and mixed reality and pivoted to be a lower cost Vision Pro. They have even asked developers to get those Android apps on their headset as soon as possible. It’s why Samsung and Google went back to the drawing board after Apple’s announcement.

        Bytedance only shot is to do the same. VR isn’t working for them when Facebook has a larger share of the pie. And if true, are going after Bytedance own turf by partnering with Tencent in China.

        Navigation, taking pictures, watching content, taking a phone call, will eventually be worn on the face. It’s inevitable.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Western > US. Pico sets are available in Europe.

      • ViRGiN

        And literally nobody cares.
        Pico is for people who spend too much time on the internet, discussing about pros and cons more than actually ever using VR in the past several years combined.

        Pico is dead. Come on, they cancelled Beat Saber clone exclusive for their own headset.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        If they want to sell anything, they need the US.

    • Tanix Tx3

      Thats not gonna happen with VR. AR on the other hand may become the next ‘cellphone screen’. But an way cheaper construction as anything we got already.

      • ApocalypseShadow

        I know it will. Read my latest comment to BCC dude. AR glasses on their own or paired with something in the pocket, with eye tracking, hand tracking and voice control with replace the cellphone.

        • Tanix Tx3

          I dont buy that, not in a foreseeable future.
          Once the mobile processing Power reach the level of an PS5, maybe. But this still takes many years, maybe an decade, especially when this power not only has to be available, but also afordable!

          • ApocalypseShadow

            So, you’re saying Facebook is wasting their time on AR glasses? Or the fact instead of concentrating on VR, they have gone the mixed reality route to get developers ready to develop for AR on Quest 3? Quest 3 isn’t PS5 power. But it does AR.

            Or the fact that after Apple announced Vision Pro, Facebook is going to pivot Quest 3 as a lower cost Vision Pro? Or the fact that Google and Samsung have gone back to the drawing board after seeing Vision Pro that’s heavily into AR?….

            Sure.

            Do you think the new XReal AR glasses are the power of PS5? Nope. Magic Leap? Nope. But they exist *TODAY.* You don’t need that much power. Only thing you need is hand tracking, voice control and every useful app that consumers use today.

            Facebook knows that Apple has the ability to put all their apps on their headset. And, has two things above them: status symbol where consumers buy on name alone for themselves and business. And two, Apple is a cellphone company that will definitely put phone calling and messaging features in their headsets and eventually, glasses. Facebook is not a cellular company. That’s why they are afraid of Apple even at $3,500. People can laugh now.

            But that first model is to wow the consumers. Then, Apple will eventually sell a smaller, lower cost headset that’ll probably be around $1,000 to $1,500. The price of an iPhone. That sells millions at that price. Not like Facebook that couldn’t sell their Quest Pro at $1,500 or $1,000. Facebook doesn’t have that status symbol going for them.

            VR is great. Console VR with PS VR 2 and PC and even stand alone is awesome. But that’s not where the war will be next year and 2025. It will be on who can beat Apple with a product that can one up the cellphone, replace the home PC and entertain you without giving yourself neck problems looking down at a phone. You’ll see. And I don’t even like Apple. I like Android and use Motorola.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            It will depend on the cooperation between Meta and MS. Otherwise Apple also has many productive app, Meta is closer to zero in that regard.

  • SwissMiss

    How long will Wall Street be the enabler for $1B/month burn that is Reality Labs? Sure, Zuck controls the Board Room, and advert revenue is through the roof this past quarter, but the USD Benjamin bonfire that is Reality Labs can’t last forever, can it? As Quest 3 sales falter, Glassholes become Rayholes, the search for a killer app continues as it clearly isn’t taking APLs i-Lunch, expect Zuck-sucking Caltech/HVD/STFD R&D PhDs that is Reality Labs to become disillusioned. What next smart folks?

    • Isaac

      Wall street is not the enabler for the burn. That was demonstrated when their stock was at an all time low and Zuck proceeded to spend even more on Reality Labs. Meta can keep doing this for a decade or two, it will likely take less than that.

    • Daca123

      The VisionPro has given META a shot in the arm – now they can say “Apple is doing it now, so it must be the next big thing.” That should keep them funded another 5+ years, at which point headsets will be much more useful for mass adoption use cases like productivity and entertainment. Quest Pro 2 will nearly be there for high-end users. Quest 6 for late adopters like myself.

  • That’s a pity… we need competition in XR!

    • ViRGiN

      nope, nobody, absolutetly noone wants competition. valve just needs to spend at least 1% of what meta is spending on developers to make pcvr worthy games.

      whats the point of “competition” if it ends up being exclusively used for steamvr? pico standalone library is a joke, it might have some of the same titles as on quest 2, but these games run worse, look worse, are bandoned immediatly on release, don’t get dlc, and don’t have mods support. pico was exclusively praised as step-up from quest 2 if used with pcvr.

      even htc standalone headsets were primarirly used for steamvr. so no, absolutetly nobody needs competition to meta. not even one.

      • Garhert

        The only good thing about monopoly is the board game.

        • ViRGiN

          I can’t think of a single example of a true monopoly in the world.
          I’ve been told multiple times Valve isn’t a PC monopoly, cause other online stores exist.
          Same goes for literally everything in the world. There is no single entity.

          • kool

            Google Amazon Microsoft…meta. anytime a company has more market share than all competitors combined and uses that market share to influence policy in its favor you have a monopoly.

          • ViRGiN

            So, Valve is 100000000000% monopoly by that definition.
            So why it’s basically never a monopoly in consumers conscience? Even here I was downvoted to hell for saying that it essentially is lol.

          • kool

            Yes, valve is a monopoly and that’s why we don’t have a vr team fortress, counterstrike, portal or official vr curation.

        • Anonymous

          Only true if Pico isn’t a Communist Spyware.

      • Anonymous

        Competition at the cost of personal security and fueling a war-mongering rogue state? Dumbest thing to ask for.

        • ViRGiN

          What? I was never pro-Pico, first cause they don’t do anything special, and two, yeah, it’s chinesium.

          Pico lovers act like Quest being “made in China” is exactly the same.

          Competition to Meta never existed and never will – simply nobody is interested in burning money. Most companies couldn’t even afford it lol. Even valve with it’s free passive income doesn’t do jacks hit.

          • Anonymous

            Very sorry replied to wrong person. Cannot delete without being a registered account.

          • Garhert

            You could at least give some credits to the HW and design of the Pico 4, no? Yeah, the facial interface does not fit everyone’s face, but I really like the rest. And it isn’t (completely) copied from the Quest.

            And I really think chinesium/communist topics should not be part of a technical discussion.

          • ViRGiN

            It absolutely must be part of the discussion, it’s very relevant for other contest companies like pimax.

          • Anonymous

            Chinese and commuinsm is not part of a technical discussion? That is the dumbest, hypocritical, and ignorant thing for a 21st Century human being to say when everything is connected to the internet.

            We live in the Internet of Things era, and almost all companies thrive on personal information such as buying preferences, political affiliation, and various telemetry to improve services and efficiency. In most cases we accept it as necessary evil because they are used only internally and we value the convenience these services or products brings.

            But the Chinese government is different – they actively request IT companies to hand over collected personal information to identify domestic dissidents to keep them at bay to remain in power, and reinforce foreign dissidents, especially those of the Western countries, to weaken them. Why do you think there has been a major rise of extreme leftist activities in recent years? Who do you think is funding them?

            If you still believe that cybersecurity is not a technical discussion, then people should also have ZERO rights to hate Meta headsets just because it was Facebook.

          • ViRGiN

            The good thing is that real world people are somewhat aware of what China really is, and real people are also aware of huuuuuuuuuuge benefits Facebook brought them to their lives. All the online hate is just that, an online hate from basement dwellers waiting for Valve Deckard.

        • kool

          Are you talking about China or the USA nobody warmongers like us. And I wonder how safe your data actually is now considering the need for vpns. What do you think China is going to do send commies thru your headset to share your stuff!

          • Anonymous

            How about you learn some history and international laws?

          • kool

            You should probably read a us history book from last century if you think USA doesn’t have its own sins. And how do we have more people in prison than almost 2 billion people?

          • ViRGiN

            Tell me one country that is free of any sins. Not even Vatican is holy.
            However, the developed world has always chosen USA as their ally. Even during WW2, given the choice, everyone would prefer to be POW to Americans.

            I don’t even know what your point is.

          • kool

            What’s your point? The USA has its own problems China has different ones…

          • ViRGiN

            What’s your point? People rarely defect to China, unless they have no absolute realistic choice given geographic ocnstraints.. There are thousands and thousands each day coming to USA border. What does that tell you?

          • kool

            China is actually a decent place I wouldn’t want to live there but it’s not 1984.

          • ViRGiN

            Do you really believe Zuckerberg is watching you VR-sturbating?

          • kool

            If anyone is doing it they all do it. Where would this moral superiority come from? They all have the ability to go through your info that’s why the us doesn’t want tik tok in America. It isn’t like we are any better than them.

          • ViRGiN

            I’m sure someone smart enough can convert valve lighthouse beams into a full color picture, meaning everything that is sensing anything, including microphones on valve index can convert it to a meaningful spying data. So what do you do now, commenting on the internet?

      • kakek

        “valve just needs to spend at least 1% of what meta is spending on developers to make pcvr worthy games.”

        Meta revenue figure 2022 : 116 billion
        Valve revenue figure 2022 : 13 billions

        Valve never had the means of investing in PCVR and subsidizing PCVR like Meta did for Mobile VR. Beside, they HAVE invested that 1%. That’s what Alyx must have costed. They released 1 VR games. They did it right, it is still pretty much unparalleled.
        Meta has not released 100 games of quest 2. Let alone 100 quality ones.
        So I’d argue that valve, relative to it’s means, did much more for PCVR ( and in a smarter way ) than Meta did for mobile VR. Meta just rolled on Facebook’s infinite money, and invested most of it in meta horizon, wich is dogshit.

        “Absolutetly nobody needs competition to meta. not even one.”

        Now that’s next level shilling. Downright saying you don’t want any alternative to even exist.
        Well good for you, there isn’t anymore. Not really. They made horrible choices. so much that they could have been concurenced with 1/5th of the budget and smarter management. Lucky for them, they had 10 time the budget of the competition, so they could just brute force eliminate them.

        • ViRGiN

          Steam exists basically unchanged for 20 years. They had decades to hamster money. Gaben items a 100m dollar yacht. How much do you think Meta paid to have RE4 ported?
          They didn’t have to make Alyx. Apparently it flopped, no matter how much reviewers liked it. They have other games on their portfolio to which they could add real vr support much much cheaper. Counter strike as one of the most popular steam games could be the system seller.

  • XRC

    After the grilling TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew had in Congress earlier this year, and the semiconductor trade war between USA and China, it’s not surprising, despite Project Texas.

    Bytedance failing to launch Pico in the USA meant it couldn’t be a viable competitor to Meta, and no sales in the most important market, meant no revenue from headset sales nor store purchases.

    • Anonymous

      If they part ways with Bytedance/Tiktok and rid of all Communist ties, I am pretty sure some investment funds if not Microsoft/Google/Amazon would be happy to pick them up to launch in the US.

      But no, they want to stay Communist Spyware then so be it. Good riddance.

      • ViRGiN

        Companies operating in China has to adhere to Chinese laws, both official and unofficial ones.
        Valve launched customized STEAM purely for the Chinese market. When some high-level communist died, valve obliged and turned their website into black and white, like nearly all Chinese websites did. If you operate in China, you have no saying over anything. Yet I don’t see any Valve hate around anything they do.

        • Anonymous

          Although I disagree with your overwhelming hate against Valve and PCVR but the part about China is spot on. It is SAD that the general crowd can be this ignorant about international politics and still support something from such a rogue state.

          • ViRGiN

            To clarify, I hate how worshipped Valve is for doing literally nothing – especially for VR – (simply existing for far too long therefore addicting it’s userbase), and with PCVR i’m disappointed in it’s state. If there were truly groundbreaking games that justify using PC in the first place, I’d be all in. I started with DK1 in 2013.

          • Anonymous

            I see. Then while our approaches are different, I guess we are after similar things

            1. That how bafflingly unfair it is that Meta has to bear all hate just because of its past as FB making some mistakes, despite their relentless effort to bring keep VR alive and establish an at least marginally profitable platform for VR developers to survive on.

            2. And also how annoying PCVR elitists can be and understand nothing beyond the basics such as panel resolution, fov, Disp Port and OLED. Many PCVR elitists are selfish thinking that devs should sacrifice big money to develop high-fidelity games but when they do, they are picked apart and grilled by the same elitists over poor game designs and stuff.

          • Arno van Wingerde

            FB did not make mistakes, that is their businessmodel. I love the work Meta has done for VR, but the company itself and basically all the main players… kapitalistic spyware is not necessarily better than communistic spyware…

          • ViRGiN

            Meta just wants to show you ads; China wants to control everything you do and punish you if it doesn’t align with their goals. Who in their mind would ever support a company coming from country where websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, even Steam are fully blocked unless you use illegal VPN? Even Afghanistan has more freedom than China. Even TikTok is banned in China, or in other words, the TikTok most of the world know is not accessible within China; they have their own version which actually has better content than all the cringe-inducing TikTok global that is even more popular than Google itself.

            I do know the answer though. It’s the Steam ab-users and PCVR elitists.

  • Anonymous

    Not enough.

    Congress should pass bill to sanction VR as “strategic technology with military application” to deprive them of chips and kill this Communist Spyware completely for good.

    Competition is good, but not when it is from a rogue state brand.

    • ViRGiN

      It was never competing.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      Calling China a rogue state is just silly. China has the longest continuous history of any country in the world—3,500 years of written history. And even 3,500 years ago China’s civilization was old. They giave us paper, gunpowder, the compass, silk, tea, porcelain… if notjing else.

      • Anonymous

        LMAO.
        What does history have anything to do with whether the current Communist Chinese government is a rogue state or not?

        I didn’t know that all those dynasties before Republic of China (no “People’s” at front, which is the current fake, genocidal ursurper government occupying China) had any international laws to obey to and access to IoT products to spy on people!

        Go study more about modern Chinese history instead of stupid commmunist propaganda before you ashame yourself.

        • Rudl Za Vedno

          You’re embarrassing yourself with such over simplification. China is a communist country only on paper, but it’s real life economic system is a brutal hardcore capitalism as it gets. Scandinavian countries are much more socialistic / communistic” than China has ever been and ever will be and for some reason Scandinavian are the happiest ppl in the developed world, regardless of 50 to 60% effective income and wealth taxation. It all comes down to how the system is implemented in reality.

      • Arno van Wingerde

        The main problem with China is that it has become 3500 years of rewritten history… People actually believe Taiwan is a legit part of communistic China.

        • Rudl Za Vedno

          But it is part of China legally speaking, under the UN convention “one country, two systems” solution and that’s been official US official policy too since 1972. The United States’ One-China policy was first stated in the Shanghai Communique of 1972: “The United States acknowledges that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.”

          • Arno van Wingerde

            I know that is the official talk, but it was one China before the revolution… Mao did not conquer Taiwan. If you want to go back on that, reinstate the emperor or his representative government from Taiwan. It would be ridiculous to have the government from a relatively little country rule of the second largest country in the world. Likewise, the only claim the PRC has on Taiwan is from before the revolution it started…

      • CrusaderCaracal

        Iran is older

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Yeah, those US headsets are just complete spyware.

      • Anonymous

        You have a REAL reading comprehension and IQ issue if you think collecting information for internal use to improve services is the same as proactively handing it to an authoritarian government to kill domestic dissidents and design brainwashing propaganda.

        • ViRGiN

          Andrew Jakobs is just an old man, out of touch with reality. You can’t have a legit discussion with someone who does not even bother to listen, cause he gets to have all his games under one Steam account.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          You really think the US is such a peace and loving country? think again, they have interfered with a lot of other countries and is also spying on others and it’s own citizens and have more then once killed domestic ‘dissidents’, lets not forget about them also detaining people without any rights or legal representation.
          You are really the one that has been brainwashed into thinking the US is a good loving country.
          I’m not saying everything is dandy in China, far from it, but don’t think for a second that the US is really any better.

          • CrusaderCaracal

            Old man alert

        • Arno van Wingerde

          I think both US and Chinese firms are trying to collect data to develop their products and maximize their profits.

          Both countries have governments that can request that data, the US government can do so under the Patriot Act and companies in many cases cannot even legally complain about it. Both countries do not acknowledge the International Court of Justice and use their veto right to sabotage the UN at every step of the way. The US was involved in many more wars…

          Yes I find the US more sympathetic but the differences are often smaller than I am comfortable with… and we may get a president that rallied his supporters to storm parliament when he lost the election – and a sizable percentage of voters seems OK with that!

      • VrSLuT

        Looks like there’s a troll duopoly on this forum. A Unity of trolls!

        • Anonymous

          REAL ignorant troll alert!

  • xyzs

    I got one PIco 4 that I sold after barely using it.

    What was the most disappointing part was the distortion. When rotating the head, I could feel the world stretching and warping enough to feel uncomfortable, thing that is much better on the Quest side.

    Surprisingly, the software part was very polished, I would say more than meta’s horrible OS in many areas. But I didn’t like the lack of apps that I use regularly like Youtube and cie.

    • BCCDude

      Personally I noped out immediately after trying it out at store. Compared to the QPro the passthrough depth is all wrong and never improved even I tried it a second time recently.

      I find the OS equally bad, however and the lack of apps really didn’t help.

      • ViRGiN

        What passthrough depth? As far as I’m aware it’s fully 2D.