Chinese virtual reality (VR) headset maker Pico, owned by tech company ByteDance, is stepping up efforts to popularize virtual reality and create a thriving content ecosystem amid heightened competition.
Pico unveiled its latest VR headset on Tuesday at its first major launch event after ByteDance acquired the company a year ago.
Priced at 2,499 yuan ($345.4), the Pico 4 series, its latest generation of all-in-one VR devices, is expected to compete with American company Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 VR headset in Europe, Japan, in South Korea and Southeast Asia. and other overseas markets.
Zhou Hongwei, President of Pico, said, “Today, we officially hit the road to popularize virtual reality in China through Pico 4, and we will bring new product experience and content ecology to more users. . Perhaps, for many users, Pico 4 will be the first VR device they buy.”
According to market research firm International Data Corp, VR headset shipments in China reached 558,000 units in the first half of this year and annual shipments are expected to top 28 million units in 2025.
The premium Pico 4 Pro has a range of advanced technologies, including three more infrared cameras than the Pico 4 version and it supports eye movement tracking and facial expressions.
More importantly, Pico is increasing its resources to cultivate VR content. It has set up a wealth of VR content, including four scenarios: VR sports and fitness, VR video, VR entertainment, and VR creation. Taking the example of sports and fitness, Pico 4 has an application that integrates personal training classes, yoga and other sports.
Pico said it has developed a fitness monitoring algorithm that can help calculate calories burned based on body data and motion trajectories, making VR sports a new lifestyle.
Additionally, Pico will launch an interactive VR narrative work called “The Three-Body Problem” next year, based on a science-fiction novel by Chinese writer Liu Cixin.
During the press conference, Pico announced that it will bring its own social platform “Project PICO Worlds” next year. This platform will provide a series of tools for users to customize their avatars and digital worlds.
The move came as digital avatars have become a crucial way for users to enter the metaverse, which promises the integration of virtual and real worlds, said Yu Jianing, co-author of the Metaverse book and director of the Huobi University, an advanced technology-focused education and research institution.
As the metaverse continues to be a tech buzzword catching the attention of established tech companies and startups, interest in virtual and augmented reality (AR) has been rekindled and hit a new high, a added Yu.
VR and AR form key components of the Metaverse, a trending concept that loosely refers to a world of endless interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play, using technologies such as VR headsets and AR glasses. .
“The lack of quality content remains a major obstacle to the popularity of virtual reality. Given ByteDance’s abundant content resources such as short videos and its willingness to develop homemade content, Pico will have advantages in this regard,” said Fu Liang, an independent. technical analyst.