The overseas version of the PICO 4 headset featuring a “pancake” optical solution was officially revealed on September 23, marking the first product unveiling since VR brand PICO was incorporated into ByteDance. The PICO 4 was officially released in the Chinese market on September 27. As a strong competitor of Meta’s Quest 2 device, a range of new PICO 4 products released this year have earned extensive attention.
However, according to Sina Tech, sources at PICO have said that the company is suffering from internal and external challenges. Data from Sandalwood show that, as of October 14, the sales volume of PICO 4 on e-commerce channels has been 46,000 units. It is worth noting that these statistics are only half a month after the release of the PICO 4, and on the basis of marketing promotion, this sales volume is quite bleak.
Industry insiders previously revealed to Sina Tech that the PICO 4 had secured a stocking index of 2.5 million units, then adjusted the target to 1.8 million units. Next year, Qualcomm will launch a new generation of chips, during which time PICO is likely to launch upgraded products. After this occurs, the PICO 4 will become an old product. An XR industry insider said, “I don’t know how the leadership who wrongly predicted the market will deal with so much inventory.”
This individual also mentioned that there are some problems with PICO products at present, and the prices they offer seriously disrupt the market order, which is making the whole industry more and more difficult. The price of PICO 4 in China is 2,499 – 2,799 yuan ($344 – $385), and there are also e-commerce stores making price reductions. According to Chinese media outlet Leiphone, some people in the industry have calculated that, if the customized screen of PICO 4, the neglected cost of structural parts and the yield rate of PICO 4 are included, every time PICO 4 sells a device, it will lose nearly 3,000 yuan. That is to say, PICO loses money every time it sells one product.
In terms of product quality, shortly after the release of the new product, the PICO 4 was exposed to negative feedback regarding clarity degradation, obvious color difference and black area, shaking and sticky gesture recognition after adopting the “pancake” optical solution. In early October, PICO took the initiative to issue a notice that PICO 4’s outer packaging would wear the case of the product, which further illustrated the problems of this product.
In Sina Tech’s report, the above-mentioned insider revealed that PICO has been supported in terms of capital and resource capacity after its incorporation into ByteDance, but due to the rapid expansion of the company’s scale, the attractiveness of its products and users is declining. “In the early stage of product R&D, some technicians will acquiesce in the use of the component as long as these problems do not affect the current product quantity, even if they find minor problems in the inspection of some parts,” the source said.
In addition, Leiphone reported that a former PICO employee revealed that after being acquired by ByteDance, staff expanded rapidly, rising from about 100 people to more than 2,000 people. However, there is no real leader, leading to serious resource grabbing and competition inside the company.