REVIEW: Meta Quest headsets were a revelation for the VR industry.
Thanks to the Quest’s all-in-one design and affordable price (at least compared to other VR headsets), it’s become the most popular VR headset by a considerable margin.
Steam’s hardware survey suggests that a whopping 41% of VR gamers used a Meta Quest 2 to access SteamVR in November 2022. And considering that most Meta Quest owners probably won’t bother connecting the headset to a PC to use SteamVR, it shows just how much Meta dominates the market for VR.
Of course, Meta has not been without its rivals. Both HTC Vive and Valve have their own headsets, but have targeted VR enthusiasts with high-end specs. And while HTC tried to create a VR headset for the mass market, the Long live the cosmos and To flow failed to strike the balance between performance and wireless freedom.
As a result, Meta hasn’t seen a serious competitor since Oculus Quest launched in 2019. However, that might be about to change.
This week I posted my review of a new VR headset called the Peak 4. I was incredibly impressed with the new all-in-one headset, offering a similar experience to the Meta Quest 2 as it doesn’t need a separate device to work and uses the exact same Qualcomm XR2 chip.
The Pico 4 actually outperforms the Meta Quest 2 in several areas. It has a higher screen resolution, lighter design, and color passthrough so you can easily locate your controllers while wearing the headset.
Unfortunately, the inferior game library prevents the Pico 4 from becoming a better option than the Meta Quest. Meta has been busy acquiring various VR game studios to gain an edge over its competitors. As a result, Meta has exclusive rights to Beat Saber, Iron Man VR, Lone Echo, and Resident Evil 4.
The Pico 4 also lacks many other great VR games, including Among Us, Moss: Book II, and Tetris Effect: Connected. Fortunately, this is a problem that Pico should be able to fix in time. Few companies can match Meta in terms of securing exclusive games, but there’s no doubt that Pico has the financial wherewithal to compete.
While you may never have heard of Pico before, it’s definitely not a small start-up anymore. In 2021, it was acquired by Chinese company ByteDance, which also owns social media platform TikTok.
With ByteDance’s financial backing behind Pico, it’s certainly possible that it will start investing in VR game studios as well, or even copy Meta’s tactics by acquiring existing studios. By doing so, the Pico 4 would suddenly be on par with the Meta Quest.
While Meta is undoubtedly concerned about this, it’s great news for consumers. Increased competition is already good news, as it encourages innovation. Why would Meta bother investing in major upgrades for the Quest line if it had no rivals?
With that in mind, it’s great to see the Pico 4 enter the ring as a fierce competitor. It will take time for Pico to gain traction and become as recognizable as Meta. But with the Pico 4 becoming the fastest growing VR headset on SteamVR in November (reported by UploadVR) is definitely going in the right direction.
Ctrl + Alt + Del is our weekly IT-focused opinion column where we dig deep into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.