People are saying, "Watch out, Meta!" The Pico 4 VR headset, poised to be rolled out by TikTok's parent company ByteDance, wants to topple the Quest 2's reign. However, if you ask me, it can't possibly snatch the Quest 2's crown.
"But how can that be?" you say. "It, too, is a sub-$500, standalone VR headset, so it's a formidable opponent for the Quest 2." Yes, but there's only one problem: ByteDance is only releasing Pico 4 in European and Asian markets.
Will Pico 4 be available in the US?
According to The Verge, the Pico 4 will launch in 13 European countries, including the U. K., France, Germany and Italy. It will also get released in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, and Malaysia. However, the U.S. market won't get the opportunity to purchase the Pico 4.
Pico will release its headset to the aforementioned European countries, as well as Japan and Korea, on Oct. 13. The remaining regions will get a release date later this year.
CNET says that ByteDance has no plans to release Pico 4 in the U.S. in the future, but in 2023, it is launching an enterprise-targeted pro variant with eye tracking for the U.S. market. Of course, this doesn't mean that the US market will never get their hands on the Pico 4, but with ByteDance not having a U.S. release date on its roadmap in the foreseeable future, it might find it difficult to knock the Quest 2 off its throne.
The Pico 4 VR headset can't play certain Quest 2 hits
Sorry to break it to you, but the Quest 2's smash hit Beat Saber won't be available on the Pico 4 VR headset because Meta acquired the studio behind it. However, if you, like me, are well aware that there are much better games to play besides that Guitar Hero rip-off, this won't faze you one bit.
Meta also acquired the studios behind some of the best Quest 2 games such as Population: One and Onward, so if you were hoping to test these games out on the new Pico headset, you're out of luck!
So what can the Pico 4 VR headset actually play? According to CNET, it can run popular Quest 2 games like The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Demeo, and Les Mills BodyCombat. To my delight, Pico 4 will also be porting over Rec Room, a Roblox-esque free app where you can play a myriad of fun games like laser tag and paintball.
Pico is working on a metaverse app called Pico World, its answer to Meta's Horizon Worlds platform, but who knows whether it will outshine it. (Admittedly, it shouldn't be that difficult.) Pico World is expected to arrive in 2023.
Pico 4 VR headset specs overview
The Pico 4 VR headset comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset, a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 pixels per eye, a refresh rate of up to 90Hz, and a six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) positioning system. Starting at €429 ($422), the Pico 4 comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB. You can upgrade to a 256GB model, but that will cost you €499 ($491). It's also an all-in-one headset, so you don't need a VR-ready laptop to use it.
It's too bad the Pico 4 isn't coming to the U.S. Although the Quest 2 has similar specs (it has the same chipset and positioning system), but it has less memory (6GB of RAM), less-impressive displays (1,832 x 1,920 pixels per eye), and doesn't climb beyond 72Hz. However, it is cheaper with a starting price tag of $399 (128GB model), but when you get the $499 256GB Quest 2 variant, it's closer in price to its Pico counterpart.
Still, as a reviewer, I've noticed that specs aren't enough to catapult a product into stardom. The Pico 4 VR needs to beat the Quest 2's catalog of apps (which, in my opinion, should be easy because it's quite mediocre) and join the US market. Once it does that, it's off to the races.