ByteDance’s Pico launches rival Oculus Quest, but challenges remain • TechCrunch

When ByteDance Buyer A year ago, the message from Chinese VR headset maker Pico was clear: It was betting that the immersive device would be where future generations spend most of their time consuming digital content. It’s a marriage that reminds us Meta’s acquisition of Oculus Back in 2014, except that the world is now in a different place with technological advances that are making VR headsets cheaper, slower, and more comfortable to wear.

TikTok’s parent company has always strived to compete in a market dominated by consumer virtual reality devices from Oculus. When Meta Quest 2 launched in 2020, ByteDance worked on a secret internal project to develop augmented reality glasses The Information mentioned. The launch of Pico’s product this week is a further indication of her ambition to challenge the Quest she has enjoyed Almost two-thirds In the global AR and VR market for the past two years.

The Pico 4, which starts at €429 (about $420 thanks to the strong dollar) for 128GB and ships to Europe, Japan and South Korea excluding China, has been well received in the VR community. He. She It weighs only 295g without the straps and can function as a standalone device but also can be connected to computers for more advanced VR experiences. It uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor as does the Quest 2.

“It’s inexpensive and of good quality, with specifications that can match the Quest 2,” says Gavin Newton-Tanzer, host of the mixed reality conference AWE Asia.

I was impressed with the weight, comfort, LCD screen, pancake lenses, color AR lane and controllers. All it needs now are serious 3D VR exclusives to differentiate itself from the Meta to capture the interest of gamers.” Writes VR content creator.

Just ‘matching’ the Quest 2 specs doesn’t sound good enough The last one came out two years ago It was an instant success. Pico not only has a lot of catching up on the technology front, but also in terms of content and branding.

“Oculus’ content ecosystem is more established, and it provides a better understanding of what consumers want,” says Newton Tanzer. The popular rhythm game Beat Saber, for example, Generate $100 million in revenue on Oculus Quest by October 2021.

The XR expert suggests that Beko has a chicken or egg problem. Its user base across product lines is currently not large enough that top-tier creators are dedicated to creating games, videos, and other VR content exclusively for its platform. He. She It is said that he sold 500,000 units Last year, half of her goal. In contrast, Quest 2 10 million units shipped In the space of October 2020 and November 2021. But without premium content, Pico will struggle to attract users in a meaningful way.

Says Frances Pia, founder of Eleven International, a cross-border tech public relations agency. “Pico needs to invest primarily in great content and know how to brand the product before it can be truly competitive.”

The good news is that Pico has established a strong foothold in China and is not facing much competition in the local market. Oculus doesn’t have an official presence in China, which means users have to go through the hassles of ordering an external version, getting an Oculus app from a foreign app store, and accessing the global app ecosystem through a virtual private network like Meta servers. Banned in China.

Tech bifurcation could allow time for Beko to test and learn in the local market before taking off in the West in full force. The expansion in the United States has already begun under the name ByteDance He started building a team for Beko on the West CoastAs per protocol, focusing on attracting talent in content, marketing, and research and development.

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