The Chinese manufacturer Pico Interactive, acquired by ByteDance (the publisher of TikTok) last August, announces this April 13, 2022 its launch on the consumer market in some European markets, including France. Specialist in virtual reality headsets, Pico had already been present for several years in Europe, but until then it was intended for the B2B market.
Available at 449 euros, but in limited quantity
In addition to France, its Pico Neo 3 Link helmet will be available for pre-order from April 15 in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Its price is set at 449 euros. The UK will follow in June, and then other unspecified countries as the months go by. This is a beta program and the headset will only be available in limited quantities and only at select retailers.
In Asia, the company will also launch in Japan and South Korea. It is obviously already very present in China, which was its only B2C market until now. The United States, on the other hand, is not concerned at the moment.
The ambition to compete with Meta
During a pre-launch briefing, Pico indicated to the Digital Factory that it wanted to collect the opinions of the most enthusiastic users before launching a possible more pronounced offensive. A 35% discount will also be offered to these “early adopters” on the brand’s next helmet if it is launched “within 12 months”, which quite clearly suggests that a Pico Neo 4 is planned for 2023.
Pico Interactive is positioning its all-in-one headset as a rival to the Meta Quest 2 (formerly Oculus Quest 2), whose success has exploded over the past 1 year. Meta’s (ex-Facebook) damaged reputation means that part of the community does not hide its desire to see viable alternatives flourish, even if it is not an easy task.
One of the determining points for finding success is the software part, which strongly influences performance and user experience. Pico will offer a localized version of its app store and cites among the launch titles Superhot VR, After the Fall, Walkabout Mini Golf, Puzzling Places, Eleven Table Tennis or Demeo. Not sure that this is enough in the face of Meta.
Access to PC games through a wireless connection
To woo fans of VR experiences on a computer, Pico also highlights a wireless connection feature via Wi-Fi 6, hence the “Link” in the name. The company boasts that it has more than 200 applications compatible with its headset on SteamVR.
Besides this new mode, the Pico Neo 3 Link is identical to the Pico Neo 3 which was announced 1 year ago. It is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip, the same as the Quest 2, whose design it also takes up in outline, whether it is the placement of the four front cameras or the ergonomics of the controllers.
The XR2 is supported by 6 GB of RAM to power a screen with a resolution of 3664 x 1920 pixels, or 773 ppi, with a refresh rate of 90 Hz. The headset has 256 GB of internal storage, and comes with a DisplayPort cable that allows you to duplicate the image of the headset on an external display.
As noted above, pre-orders will open on April 15 and will end on May 23. The only French reseller is Matts digital. Only one helmet can be ordered per person while stocks last.