Pico Interactive took to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this week with a massive booth, hyping the event as a “treat” that would be a ‘Journey to Infinity’. Well, there’s nothing in particular to announce.
Pico, the creator of the Pico 4 standalone, is arguably one of the biggest untapped threats to Meta’s market supremacy in the consumer VR standalone segment. At least for now.
Owned by TikTok parent company ByteDance, many speculated that the China-based Pico was finally ready to announce the consumer launch of Pico 4 in the United States, a step that many (including us) have been waiting for following a US hiring spree last summer.
At the time, a Protocol report maintained the move would usher in “a major focus on content licensing as well as marketing its hardware to U.S. consumers.”
So, is Pico 4 coming to US consumers? We spoke to the company at GDC this week, and despite a flashy ‘save the date’ countdown to its ‘Journey to Infinity’ and a massive booth on the show floor, there’s simply nothing to report.
In for a treat at #GDC23? Come say hi at Booth S627, Moscone Center and take a dive into the #JourneytoInfinity with #PICO #PICO4 #VirtualReality #VR #GDC23 #JourneytoInfinity pic.twitter.com/Julujtyilc
— PICO XR (@PICOXR) March 22, 2023
To boot, Pico’s Twitter presence isn’t very large—it has less than 10,000 followers at the time of this writing—but the initial countdown tweet promising to kick off “a new journey” managed to take the record for the company’s most-viewed tweet at more than 67,000 impressions. People were expecting something big from Pico at GDC, and it simply didn’t manifest.
Pico is probably the only company right now with both a capable device and the market stability to directly compete with Meta, the undisputed champion of the consumer standalone segment with Quest 2. Under the wing of the Chinese ByteDance media empire, Pico not only has the sort of cash reserves to subsidize hardware, but also a growing ability to attract developer interest.
Launched in October 2022 and priced at €420 (~$455), Pico 4 is available across Europe, China and a number of APAC countries, including Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. The missing puzzle piece is undoubtedly a North American release.
But, if you’re still waiting to hear about the much-anticipated US rollout, you should adjust your expectations for this week, because the only thing going on at the Pico booth are demos for the headset.
We have boots on the ground at GDC this week, so make sure to check back on all things AR/VR as we dive into developer sessions and see everything on the show floor.