ByteDance’s VR PICO brand will launch new products

PICO, a VR brand acquired by ByteDance last year, announced on September 19 that it would hold a global new product launch event on September 22, as well as another China-only launch event on September 27. Meanwhile, the company is set to unveil the highly anticipated PICO 4 all-in-one VR headset, its first product since joining ByteDance.

At present, the new PICO 4 has been pre-sold on Tmall, JD.com, Douyin and other major e-commerce platforms in China. According to previous reports, the PICO 4 will be equipped with the industry-leading Pancake optical solution, which will significantly reduce screen size and improve user comfort. At the same time, PICO 4 is also significantly improved in clarity, with 105° viewing angle, which can provide users with a more immersive VR experience.

In July 2018, PICO closed a round A financing of 167.5 million yuan ($23.9 million). At that time, the company’s CEO, Henry Zhou, revealed that the company was to be listed in China or on a foreign stock exchange within the next three to five years. However, in August 2021, PICO was acquired by ByteDance in a final deal worth over 9 billion yuan.

After acquiring PICO, ByteDance invested a series of resources into the VR brand, including but not limited to Douyin advertisements and information, celebrity recorded videos, and live streams.

In addition to Douyin, PICO has also been promoted on Weibo, BilibiliXiaohongshu and other major Chinese social platforms through downloader ratings and user experience sharing.

PICO gathers more and more users. Wellsenn XR data shows the company shipped 260,000 units in the second quarter of 2022, a nearly eight-fold increase year over year. Previously, PICO reportedly increased its initial sales target this year from 1 million units to around 1.8 million units.

The PICO team now has over 1,000 employees and continues to grow. In order to capture more potential users, ByteDance chooses to fully mobilize its internal resources, use its strengths in entertainment to expand the content ecology, and try its hand at video and social communication.

According to a report by Chinese media Finance and Economics, PICO is still receiving transferred employees from Douyin and Xigua Video. For example, Ren Lifeng, the director of Xigua Video, Song Binghua, the variety show director of Douyin, and Wu Zuomin, the director of Douyin’s entertainment department, all transferred to PICO. According to a ByteDance insider, Yao Shuai, who ran Xigua Video, also recently joined PICO. Other sources claim that ByteDance is always recruiting new talent for PICO, including for its position as head of marketing.

Jason Ma, former director and head of XiaomiThe VR department of , as well as the founder of virtual image social app Vyou, have reportedly joined ByteDance. Vyou’s operator, PoliQ, was merged and the original team of over 50 people was merged into the PICO social hub.

SEE ALSO: Jason Ma, former head of Xiaomi VR, joins Pico from ByteDance

At the same time, ByteDance is strengthening its technology portfolio. It invested in Shenzhen Optiark Semiconductor, which focuses on diffraction optics and micro-nano semiconductor processing, two months after acquiring PICO. Moreover, chipmakers like RiVAI Technology and Yunsilicon Technology have also been added to the investment list.

China Securities’ report pointed out that the current domestic VR all-in-one machine market currently lacks popular game applications. The organization believes that creating competitive content will be the next key move for VR machine makers. Virtual reality games are the core of the content ecosystem, while pan-entertainment areas such as fitness, movie watching and social media are also directions with long-term development potential.

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